Green cook prepares recipe to save earth

May 30th, 2009 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 30 (IANS) People should drop their pre-conceived ideas about how things should work and act to save the world from ecological disaster, says author and democracy activist Frances Moore Lappe.
Lappe calls for a wholesale revamping of the way we view government, the economy and democracy. If we manage to do it, she says, we can save ourselves from our own demise.

Lappe, made famous in the seventies by her bestselling vegetarian cookbook “Diet for a Small Planet”, is an activist, author and co-founder with her daughter Anna of The Small Planet Institute.

She said many people today are frightened by the potential for disaster, ecological and otherwise, and fearful that nothing can be done to prevent it. Lappe said we can do something - if we challenge assumptions about the way the world works.

The first is that going green means “powering down”, or reducing our consumption of energy. Lappe said all we have to do is stop getting energy from fossil fuels and start getting it directly from sources like the sun.

“Every day the sun supplies us with 15,000 times the amount of energy we’re now using in fossil fuels,” she said. If everyone had a solar panel or windmill on their roof, we wouldn’t be dependent on oil companies - and as individuals we’d feel more in control of our own destiny.

The second idea to dispense with, she said, is that going green means an end to economic growth. What we have to do, she says, is change our idea of what growth is.

Right now, she said, the Walton family - owners of Wal-Mart - controls as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of the US population. Is it growth if the wealthy families just get wealthier?

There’s plenty of room for growth, she said, if we learn to do things more efficiently. For example, she said various estimates show that between 25 and 50 percent of all food produced in the US is wasted. Besides, each Americans dumps about 140 kg of packaging material every year.

The third idea she wants to challenge is the notion that humans are by nature greedy, self-centred and materialistic.

Under certain conditions, she said, we can be monsters. But there wouldn’t be 6.8 billion of us on the planet today if we didn’t also have positive qualities such as empathy, cooperation and fairness, said a statement from the institute.

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