Happy Earth Day

I’d like to start this blog with a Mohawk prayer to mother earth.

Oh Great Spirit, Creator of all things;
Human Beings, trees, grass, berries.
Help us, be kind to us.
Let us be happy on earth.
Let us lead our children
To a good life and old age.
These our people; give them good minds
To love one another.
Oh Great Spirit,
Be kind to us
Give these people the favor
To see green trees,
Green grass, flowers, and berries
This next spring;
So we all meet again
Oh Great Spirit,
We ask of you.

Thursday, April 22’nd is earth day, it should be more than just a day, a way of living really. You can join the movement HERE. Since the organizations inception in 1970, the planet had 3.7 billion people, currently we stand at 7.8 billion. That’s over a 100% increase in 50 years. Previously between 1900 and 1970, the same increase in 70 years. So in less than 121 years the worlds population has doubled twice….scary. Track the worlds population by the second HERE. There are a lot of questions to ask when looking at these statitics. Why did it happen, is it even sustainable, what does the future hold?

WHY IT HAPPENED

Normally in biology, when an organism reaches really high densities, like humans are at the moment, either disease takes hold or resources run out and the organism is wiped out. The reason why humans have increased in population so rapidly and so successfully is because we’ve sidestepped the two problems of food shortage and being knocked over by disease.

That started in the industrial revolution, when there were about a billion of us, and we tapped into using fossil fuels to do large-scale agriculture.

Once you’re using fuels, you can transport food, plough and harvest very large areas and manufacture pesticides. So that removes the first limitation of population – you can make essentially as much food as you want.  Secondly, vast improvements in hygiene through having clean supplies of water and reticulated sewage systems to remove waste decreased the incidence of disease.

As a result, life expectancy has increased hugely, which contributes to population size: If we all only lived to 30, there’d be half the population on the planet.

Another contributor to our rapid population growth are advances in medicine which, along with the improvement in hygiene, means that mothers and children have a much greater chance of surviving childbirth, and most infants survive through childhood.

And then there are two great inventions that have lowered the incidence of disease, in particular infectious disease: antibiotics and vaccination. Vaccination, for instance, has made smallpox, which used to kill millions of people, extinct. And whereas people once died from simple bacterial infections – you get scratched by a rose thorn while you’re gardening, and you’re dead in a week – with antibiotics we can now control those infections.

The highest growth rate happened between 1955 and 1975. It’s known as The Great Acceleration and it corresponds to the greatest increase in welfare for the most people. Since that time, rates of reproduction, particularly in developed countries, have been dropping, so the rate of growth is starting to slow as people have less children. But we’re still going to be somewhere between 8 and 11 billion by the year 2050.

IS IT SUSTAINABLE?

The short answer is no. The evidence has never been more alarming. Mother earth is not happy, and some changes are starting to manifest in civil unrest globally. The pandemic, I believe is also a symptom. We have known there is a problem for decades, yet for whatever reason the vast majority of us do nothing. Our industry is likely one of the biggest contributors to WASTE in all manners, food waste, plastics, energy consumption and more. And because the hospitality sector touches just about every other industry like transportation, food distribution and farming….you can see how huge this is. So without getting into angry politics, what can we do, as chefs, restauranteurs and hoteliers?

SOLUTIONS

It really comes down to mindfulness. We can change our world as individuals, set an example for others to follow, especially if you are in a position of influence. Talk is cheap, actions speak volumes. Do little things every day, and add to them….create “GOOD” habits. We still have an opportunity to make things better, one day at a time. With a little help from Mother Earth, let’s make this day into a week, a month…..a way of living. Cheers, and have a wonderful day!