Thursday, April 23, 2009

Size and the environment- a huge debate

There's a lot of research and social stigma that tells us being obese is not a great thing. The arguments against obesity range from 'it's bad for your general health' (heart, joints, blood pressure etc x 3...), to 'it's bad for your well being' (emotions, self esteem, social status etc x 3...).
If all that and the raging debates that go with it weren't enough for you - here's the next anti-overweight argument; obesity is bad for the environment. Ouch.
How can you ignore the guilt factor in that statement? Simple, you can't. The argument goes that if you're fat then chances are you use more fuel and create more waste -for the production of your food, your transport and the accompanying lifestyle. Again, ouch. 
But it also makes sense. Even more sense when it's backed up by experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - It's just more convincing when it comes from a white coat. The WHO asserts that the continued weight gain of wealthy populations points to greater consumption in general, leading to greater food production demands which are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses. 
So that's it... back on the treadmill people and maybe hook it up to the generator while you're there.
I have to say that from the standpoint of women and their social liberation, I am a little torn. For a start, whilst I certainly understand all the many arguments against obesity, and I am certainly all for reducing my impact on the environment, I am also not about to jump on the 'heroin chic' bandwagon that has plagued western women and their self image for so long. So where do we go from here? Do we point the finger at fat people even more readily than we currently do and this time claim that 'it's for the good of the environment'? Or do we re-address the problem and refer to it as 'over-consumption' on every level that is the problem rather than just 'over-weight'. It seems to me that perhaps obesity is a symptom of environmental abuse rather than just another cause. But what would I know- I've spent my life trying to convince myself that I am actually ok even if I don't lose that extra kilo.  

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