I’d like to live in a world where everyone has easy access to An apple a day and a piece of fish per week.
Alright, you can make that an organic apple and a sustainable can of sardines, or ground up flaxseed.
The recurring image I have is that anyone anywhere, walking into any building – even the lobby of a swanky high rise in NYC – can pick up a luscious, fragrant apple from a basket if they’re hungry and want a snack. No questions asked.
There is nothing I love more than creating delicious and nutritious meals and sharing them with friends and loved ones. I have had the good fortune to be able to do that time and again for years. And as my love grows and expands I want to feed more people and see more joy and health through food.
And the dividends are uncountable. Remember what I said LAST TIME about trusting the mind/body to act, heal, grow, create? At the very foundation of all of that is nourishment and joy. Can you imagine the growth and productivity if each and every one of us has the fuel and infrastructure necessary to reach our full potential?
Then there are the dividends of a shared joyous meal which can be a topic for a future entry (let me know below if you’d like to read more on that!)
Even in the best of times food banks and church pantries are emergency rescue operations. Many are left hungry every day. And right now it feels like bailing out a sinking ship. Survival mode takes up a lot of resources, time and energy; finding a sustainable, universally accessible solution for the problem of food insecurity would free up a lot of bandwidth for creativity and productivity. That requires time and energy in the form of money. Can we be smart about how to solve this particularly vexing problem?
Healthcare dollars could go further on the preventive side. It is clear that good nutrition prevents common and costly chronic diseases. And make no mistake, chances are you are already paying an inordinate amount to rescue other people with your taxes and health insurance premiums. And when all that fails, by donating or volunteering when a crisis makes the pain and suffering more visible. I wager that a lifetime supply of fruits and vegetables for an individual would cost less than treatment for diabetes and all of its complications.
The world I envision would cost still more than that. However, I maintain that the dividends are higher still. How do we get there?
The global pandemic has surfaced many fissures by exacerbating insecurity, hunger, unemployment, social divides and mistrust. It has also been a time of growth, creativity, problem solving, coming together and helping others. It will be years before we sort the signal from the noise, learn what works and will succeed going forward. We have been forced to take the plunge with massive spending with unprecedented stimulus packages. What can we learn from this experiment? Might that inform another look at the idea of universal basic income? The most compelling argument for UBI is that might be a cost-effective way to grow the economy. Will the emerging data support that contention?
Universal basic income could quickly turn into a rescue, a finger in the dike, if the serious fissures and mistrust are not addressed at the same time. Affordable housing and more robust public transportation infrastructure are also necessary. Reparations must be part of the solution; what began as an economic abomination in the form of slavery, must have an economic remedy as a consequence and critical element of repairing that fissure. Perhaps a topic for another entry. Another, parallel process, would be to build trust, foster understanding of the other, recognize that we are all more alike in our hopes and fears than different; that we are all in this together; that your wellness is necessary for my wellness.
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