Can One Movie Save the Planet?
“Man, I want KFC.”
“No, you know what sounds good? A Junior Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s.”
These were definitely not the reactions I was expecting after watching Food Inc with Austin and his roommate Blake.
Unable to attend a showing of the movie at the University of Kansas this past week, Austin and Blake watched the DVD this morning instead. I knew the movie probably wouldn’t turn them into complete organic eaters or vegetarians, but I hoped that watching the movie and having a more visual representation of what our current food system is like would be more effective.
What was most interesting about their reactions to the movie was how the plight of the modern farmer seemed to resonate the most with Austin and Blake. Having grown up in Western Kansas and seen firsthand the effects of industrial farms on small family farms, they felt most connected to the stories of farmers caught under the control of large food corporations.
Blake: It all has to do with money. It’s like what that one guy in the movie said about Lady Justice with her scales and how the winner is whoever can pile the most money onto their side of the scale. Wal-mart is switching to more organic for the profits. Monsanto is suing farmers for the money.
Austin: You asked if I would change my eating habits after watching the movie. Probably not.
Then again Janie, if we shopped smarter we could probably afford to buy more local or organic groceries. We do spend a lot of our excess income on unnecessary items. We treat ourselves out all the time. It just takes some self-control to save that money so that we can eat better.
But all it boils down to the fact that the food I’m eating now doesn’t bother me. I’m a healthy individual, I like the food we eat, and I’m going to continue eating that way. But basically the whole idea of the movie is that it has to be changed on a grand scale. Policies have to change with people backing it up. We can’t really do anything individually. It has to be a massive effort.
Can one movie change a person? It appears that in this instance, Austin and Blake remained unaffected. Though a bit disappointed, I realize that it is difficult to change a person’s established mindset with a 90 minute documentary. Change is not sudden. It is not immediate, easy, nor a one-time thing. It takes time, encouragement, and gradual implementation.
Living more sustainably is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes it is easier to go out for fast food, pop in a TV dinner, or reach for a bag of chips. Sometimes I get so frustrated I write a whole blog post about it.
But I like to think it’s kind of like exercising. Sometimes you are motivatd and you hop on that treadmill every day of the week. Other times you feel discouraged or lazy and sit on the couch and play Call of Duty 2 every day (ahem, Austin…). But when those down weeks or days or moments happen, you can’t just quit. You get off that couch and get on your treadmill. You put down the fast food and head to the farmer’s market to show your support for eating and living sustainably.