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The Oil We Eat

By July 24, 2006July 14th, 2019No Comments

Yesterday I read the most depressing article I have come across in a long while. First published in Harper’s in February 2004, I’m glad I only came across it yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

In The Oil We Eat, Richard Manning gave me a geography (and biology, and plant physiology) lesson I could have used back when I started, I don’t know, eating I suppose:

Special as we humans are, we get no exemptions from the rules. All animals eat plants or eat animals that eat plants. This is the food chain, and pulling it is the unique ability of plants to turn sunlight into stored energy in the form of carbohydrates, the basic fuel of all animals. Solar-powered photosynthesis is the only way to make this fuel. There is no alternative to plant energy, just as there is no alternative to oxygen. The results of taking away our plant energy may not be as sudden as cutting off oxygen, but they are as sure.”

Unfortunately, Manning seems to recommend only eating what you can kill or grow close to home but I only have Phil and Don here and I was fattening them up for another project, I can’t imagine them going for more than few meals anyway.

So, at the end of the day I did what any red-blooded male would do when confronted with the imminent demise of the planet and everyone on it: I cracked open a beer and switched on Top Gear and tried not think about it.