Early on when I first met my wife, she asked me to replace a light bulb in her flat.
It was one of those tricky recessed numbers that, at the time, freaked me out.
I’ve never been a fan of electricity, at least not when you have to work with it. I dithered about fixing the light bulb and my wife remembered that as getting involved with a person who was not handy at all. Not what she wanted to know.
Turns out that she’s happy enough with her handyman now. I can fix a few things here and there from my basement workshop but also know when to bring in the more experienced people to make sure I don’t electrocute myself.
There’s a couple of aspects to this anecdote.
One is that we’re probably better at doing things than we realize.
Whilst I was fearful of electricity, I could actually do quite a bit just through common sense and knowing where the master switch was located. Changing the light bulb has to be right up there with just about anything anybody can do.
And over the years, I’ve been able to build things and fix things that I wouldn’t have ever imagined. Obviously, I have YouTube to thank for a whole bunch of tutorials. That marvellous place where folk give freely of their expertise to allow the lesser mortals the chance to please their spouse.
The other thing the light bulb story brings to mind though is what we should be able to do.
What is it that should be in our toolbox of skills? And most importantly our data banks of knowledge? What is it that we should be knowing at this point in human history?
What should we know?
As a trained scientist with the privilege of a career as an ecologist, I am biased towards environmental issues.
And on this website, we’re passionate about food, ecology, and diet; the biggest environmental issue of them all. The requirement to grow food needs an ecological solution founded on solid science. It also needs us to be more aware of what we’re putting inside our bodies both for our own benefit and for how we’re going to feed everyone well. Food security and all that goes with it from food production to consumption and waste is obviously a high priority for sustainably FED. We like everyone to be aware of what they’re eating, where it comes from and the consequences of culinary choices.
But there are other things that are equally important. Here are a few in no particular order.
What do we understand about our democratic system of governance?
Many of us in the West live in jurisdictions with democracy as the primary mechanism to govern society. Are we comfortable with it? Is it delivering what we need it to deliver?
If the last few decades of democracy in the US delivered Donald Trump presidency, that can’t possibly mean democracy is working as it should. Then democracy delivered Brexit too. Enough said already.
Are we happy with our economic system?
The majority of us still trade time for money whilst the minority leverage that money for their own gain. This system is so successful the disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest is growing by the day both within countries and globally.
The richest 1% of individuals own more financial resources than half the world’s population. Such inequality only makes a few people happy.
Are we happy with our education?
Is what our youngsters are taught about the world enough to equip them for an uncertain future? Are they given the skills that they need to survive in modern society, let alone prosper in that society? How much of their formal education is actually making a difference compared to their informal education?
It is interesting that old folk will ask the nearest youngster to fix up their phone apps or for advice on how to use social media. The kids didn’t take a class on social media. At least not in the ways of each program works, they figured that out for themselves. Informal education is giving them skills. Maybe more so than their formal education.
Are we happy with our defence?
Are we happy that we still spend huge sums of money on military hardware and military personnel? Meanwhile, the global superpowers could walk into most countries unchallenged.
We want to feel safe, of course, and historically the so-called weak countries would be the ones that could be overrun by the stronger countries. Some sort of deterrent is essential. But when you look at this graph of North Korean missile types, you realize that they have played with over a dozen different types of missile, let alone the numbers of individual missiles.
If anyone did press a red button the risk of escalation to decimate the planet is extremely high. There’s more than enough munitions around in the world to destroy it several times over. Are we happy that huge sums are spent on the hardware and the military but far less on diplomacy and figuring it out collectively?
Chances are each one of us knows more and can do more about many of these questions than we realise. We certainly know enough to discuss them around the dinner table or over a pint in the pub.
Conversations are a healthy start.
What should we know about FED?
Are we happy that we have an extraordinary understanding of the human body and yet rates of obesity are climbing and malnutrition still exists all around the world?
Are we happy that our knowledge of the health system and human health is biased towards specific cause and effect solutions rather than a whole of body option?
Do we really know what’s best for our individual and collective nutrition?
Do we know where food comes from?
What actually happens out there on those rural properties that are rearing livestock and growing crops that are turned into our food? Do we know if farmers are growing the right things in the right places? Do we know if they are growing food sustainably or mining the soil for carbon and nutrients?
There are dozens of other sustainably FED challenges from inequity, food security, climate change, food prices, population… we could keep going all day.
Any number of issues that have relevance to everybody and are impinging on your FED life, whether you realize it or not.
Are you happy you know enough about them?
What sustainably FED suggests…
We have a moral obligation to ourselves and everyone else to know more about these things.
That is why we put this website together and built eCourses over on Kajabi. We wanted to make it easier for you to know more.
We suggest enrolling on one or even signing up for the premium package.