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The book omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan is a book that asks direct question about the eating habits of America. It originates from the fact that omnivores have a vast variety of food to choose from and, therefore, can decide what to eat and what not to partake. The book follows four food chains from their source to our dinner tables. Pollan is an author also a journalist. He lectures at the University of California. He is also an activist and in this book, he advocates for change in our eating habits so as to deal with the climate change.
1. How to cope with climate change
For many of us, we lead our lives normally without the looming scare of climate change, until the Al gore campaign put the facts straight and scared most of us because of the damage we had managed to inflict on earth. Climate change is here with us, and it is upon us, to do something, or else we will perish. Climate change occurs because of the carbon emissions emitted in the air by our industries, by cars and people. This carbon then goes to deplete the ozone layer also causes climate change (DOE, 2010). This is the reason why things are melting faster and the winters are extremely cold while the sun in the summer is scorching.
What then should we do to cope with the climate change? First we should reduce the emission of carbon in the air this has had some efforts as people are trying to drive less, there has also been a turn to other form of energy apart from the fossil fuels people are trying to use renewable energy like solar energy. Second, we must adapt to the changes this means that we must strive to conserve what we have for instance water conservation or maybe planting of trees. In my opinion, I think coping with climate change should come from everyone. Everyone should struggle to do something that will reduce their impact towards climate change. Say I change my eating habits, my neighbor walks to work and my friend plants a tree, all this efforts combined will give us a safer earth.
2. Industrial foods
Pollan in his discussion of industrial foods points out that America's food is largely dependent on corn. He traces most food from the supermarkets to the corn farms in Iowa, also from the field of corn to the fast foods that most of us love to raid for food. To him America is largely dependent on corn. Even eggs, chicken, and beef are all derived from corn because they are made to feed corn as part of their meal (Pollan, 2006). It is astonishing how corn has become the biggest crop in today's America, and to Pollan this should change.
Pollan advocates for America to find other crops to depend on because, corn will eventually deteriorate our health and cause damage to our environment. In the fields where corn grows, there is tremendous use of petroleum in the tractors used to farm (Pollan, 2006). In addition, the industries that process the corn into various foods are using a lot of chemicals and emitting carbon, therefore, causing damage to people's health and the environment. I think that Pollan is right to call for change in our dependency on corn, and turn to other foods.
3. Polyface farm
Polyface farm is the ideal farm according to Pollan, in this farm by Joel Salatin there is the natural growing and layering of plant and animals. Salatin also believes in the direct sale of products from the farm to the consumers (Pollan, 2006). He says it is crucial for people to know how the products are grown and layered. The animals in this farm are allowed to breed within their natural environment; in fact, the cattle are feed onto grass that has been naturally grown. Salatin also uses manure from animals to fertilize the growth of grass.
Pollan uses Polyface farm to show exemplary and sustainable methods of farming, which should be used in contrast to the industrial farming that we are most familiar with. The way Salatin uses natural means to layer and grow grass is an example of how people can use natural means to farm, and cause less harm to our environment and to people. I agree with Pollan's support for Polyface as an ideal farm. Though some critics say that he does not use heritage birds in his farm what matters most, it is the means by which he layers these and birds, and how he presents the product to the consumer that matters.
Pollan also talks about the ancient methods used to obtain food. Hunting and gathering and that there is satisfaction when one hunts their own food because of experience, and the energy invested in hunting that animal (Pollan, 2006). Although he admits that hunting is difficult even with the sophisticated technology of today, he sees hunting as a valuable experience. I do not agree with him imagine if all of us decided to hunt for our food, we would soon deplete the animals from their natural environment, plus the thought of hunting it is so ancient!
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