Today most people in Britain live in cities, in an environment constructed by other people, surrounded by things made by people.
It’s easy to become detached from the underlying reality, to feel that complaining about something on social media is radical problem solving behaviour. That if things aren’t going your way, somewhere there is another human being who is responsible for this, who needs to be goaded into doing something about it.
There is. It’s you.
The modern world is so vast and complex that it defies understanding and control. The authority figures you set up and love to hate have no more idea how to cope than you do. Often their core skill is in clawing their way to the pole position in a group.
You put them there.
By abdicating your continuing responsibility to participate in this understanding and control, you keep them there. Struggling to satisfy the needs of millions, while fending off predatory interests from outside. Nobody can succeed in this role.
Their only hope is to simplify everything. Let food be produced by huge farming industries, processed by a single firm, distributed through a vast network owned by one person. Then all the people they need to talk to can meet in one room. There is the comforting illusion of being in control of the situation.
If you’re happy to be painted grey, to fit in a box, to be collateral damage in someone else’s movie, then that’s fine. That’s where it’s all going; just keep calm and carry on.
Or start paying attention.
You can deplore the effect of supermarkets on the local economy – did you vigourously oppose their planning applications? – but are you still using them? Convenience is a word with a lot to answer for. Go exploring for alternatives. Make food an adventure!
When a chain store closes, is your community poised to replace it with a locally owned co-operative? Would people spend their money there to keep it going, to keep wealth in the area? If not, why the hell not?
It’s difficult and complicated to work this out. Food is only one of the factors you need to consider when reclaiming your responsibility. I wrote the Resilience Handbook to show you how to make a really good beginning to this process. It’s packed with information which you can research in more depth – almost every paragraph unfolds into a whole article, a speech, a coherent argument. The key feature though is the call to action, gaining the practical knowledge you need to develop by doing things.
You don’t get fit by talking about exercise.