I’ve written before about how important it is to let your representatives know you care. It’s super easy to write an email, (your fave issues will probably have pre-written emails for you.) But if you want to give a little extra something, handwritten is the way to go.
I was inspired by this video:
So I wrote this to NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and House Rep Rangel:
Dear [Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Representative Rangel],
My name is Alden Wicker. I just moved to New York a year ago, and I write a blog on sustainability issues and living in New York. As I’ve become more aware and more involved in the politics of sustainability and health, I’ve become more and more worried about the state of our food system. I know that you are a big supporter of working families. Well, I think one of the biggest issues facing families today is how we feed ourselves.
Our food system is so broken; it makes the healthcare system look like a well-oiled health-giving machine. I could cite a lot of statistics here about food borne illnesses bred in Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations, the unsettling rise of antibiotic resistance as drugs are steadily poured into the feed of animals, the extreme subsidies for corn that prop up ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, and the unnecessarily high carbon emissions from shipping and fossil fuel-intense farming, and so many other disturbing facts about how our food system undermines our health, natural world, and happiness.
But I think it all comes down to this: it is cheaper for a family to buy hamburgers and fries with a coke than it is to buy whole vegetables, lean protein, and some milk for dinner. I am so lucky that I can afford to buy produce that doesn’t have pesticides on it, that I can peruse the farmers market of nutritious offerings that weren’t shipped from South America, and that I can make smart choices about what I put in my body. But there are so many people out there who don’t have a choice. They are forced into diabetes and heart disease because of government subsidies and regulation. It’s a sad paradox that the lowest income areas of New York have the highest rates of obesity. This is an issue that affects many of your constituents. I believe America is the best country in the world, but if we can’t even give a large swath of our population the chance at health anymore, then what does that mean?
Here’s what should happen in order to restore America to health, in this order:
- Shift subsidies away from corn and toward other vegetables and fruit
- Support FDA regulation that allows small farmers to process animals safely and cheaply
- Support stricter regulation of pesticides that are carcinogenic, undermine local, beneficial insect populations, or breed “superweeds.”
- Support the overhaul of school lunch programs away from junk food and toward whole, fresh foods
I sincerely hope this letter finds its way into your hands. I’ll be watching to see how everything plays out.
I printed them, put them in envelopes, and sent it off to their offices in Washington DC. Nothing will probably come of it. But I know if I keep writing, if I show up regularly in their inbox, they will know I care. It’s a tiny thing, but it means a lot to me.
Here’s hoping I can keep it up!