Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is Human Health Our God-Given Right?

I've been a subscriber of Dr. Mercola's alternative health newsletter for several years. While I don't always agree with everything there, it's very informative and I've learned a lot. Plus the community is great too.

One thing that has irked me a little is Dr. Mercola's push to sell krill oil as a source of omega-3's. Today there was an article, Lawsuit Raises Fish Oil Supplement Concerns, railing yet again against fish oil supplements and praising the virtues of krill oil. I personally don't think we should be going to the ends of the earth (Antarctica) to harvest a sea critter best left for the whales.

Here's the comment I left. I wonder what kind of response it'll bring?

I'm assuming my opinion won't be a popular one, but I will share it anyway. To me, there's a kind of hubris involved in going to the ends of the earth to find critters (say krill, for instance) to harvest for the sake of human health. We've caused so much contamination to the world's fisheries we now have to go to extremes to harvest something safe for human consumption. The hubris is in thinking that we have a right to pursue human health at all costs, when no other animal on this planet has that luxury. I believe we should be eating from our local foodsheds and rehabilitating our local foodsheds so they can provide us (and all of the local critters) with the optimal health that's possible in that location. This won't be perfect health. I don't believe perfect health is an option for any living thing on this planet any longer due to the damage we've already inflicted. For us to push into ecosystems where we have no business being will just cause more degradation.

Putting ourselves and our health above other living things is the same kind of mentality that created this mess in the first place. I'm willing to sacrifice a degree of my own health to live more sustainably. That means I forgo health-giving substances shipped in from somewhere else for what I can find locally. In these times we have to strike a balance, being healthy-enough while ensuring the health of all others.

Thanks in advance for allowing me my contrary opinion!:)


  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd make the argument from an even broader viewpoint, and just say that it's clear that when we try to manipulate the ecosystem for our needs only, odd things begin to happen... And down the line, the health benefits we sought after in the first place are dramatically reduced.

  2. Yes, those pesky unintended consequences....

    As a species, we are really bad at understanding and anticipating consequences. That's why I think we need to return to living locally as much as possible. When we confine our actions to a small community we can see the consequences of our actions, and more importantly, we have to *live* with those consequences.

    The global scale of life today is too abstract for us. When the results of our actions aren't immediately apparent to us we just tend to ignore them. Harvesting krill from Antarctica will never be real enough to us--we can't see it, so it isn't a problem.