I was just listening to the BBC World Service discussing the obesity trend in Australia. As in the US and so many other wealthy nations around the world, this trend will bring a veritable tsunami of health problems. On the program, they mentioned that health officials in Australia believe that for the first time in many generations, the current younger generations will at some point begin to die off at a younger age than their parents did, specifically due to complications from obesity. Again, the excesses of our “I want it all and I want it now” society manifest themselves in real time and real bodies. There is no question that the quest for unsustainable levels of productivity and wealth influence everything in our society, including the portion sizes in fast food restaurants, which have grown significantly since the 1970s, along with our collective girth. In previous entries, I’ve written about the huge quantities of cheap meat that the fast food industry has arranged to have access to is contributing not only to obesity but to global warming as well. In poorer countries with tremendous wealths of natural resources, businesses and even individuals are clearing huge swaths of rainforest in order to raise more livestock and crops. And when people around the world object to this activity, the governments of these poor countries accuse those in wealthier countries of wanting to deprive their citizens of the very excesses that are causing all the problems mentioned above. There’s just no thought involved. Only greed. I hope at least some of the poor governments that want to improve the quality of life for their citizens take the lessons of excess in the wealthier countries of the world to heart, and build a smarter society. Is it too much to ask of human beings? I sincerely hope not.
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