On a winter’s day, I looked out of the window and was overcome with a sense of sentimental love for the 20 kilometer radius I so far spent most of my life in. “My body”, I thought in a moment of romantic weakness, “is of this soil”. Then my brain kicked in.
Because is it, really? It used to be for our great-grandpas. Sentiments like this were popular at a time when most of the things you ate all grew or grazed in a one-mile radius around your kitchen, and you just had to drag them in or exchange them for your sister with somebody. It was conceivable at the time that all the bits that constitute your body have been in the soil, plants and animals around you for countless millenia, and that you were indeed made of the dust of your country, of one substance with it so to say.
That is very 1700s. Nowadays, if I were to trace the atoms constituting my body, I would find that:
- 90% of the muscle mass is Argentinian beef
- Half the mass of my liver is deposits from Scotland, France and Italy.
- 100% of the fat is Czech indeed, because our cuisine … well, our cuisine is mostly made of Polish meat, Chinese vegetables, Ukrainian wheat and South American fruit nowadays. So it all stops being local if we go far enough, anyway.
- The other squishy stuff is a mixture of what I ate in Italy, France, the UK, USA, Cuba, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Norway. And that’s just the last couple of years. On average, I tend to eat more when abroad than at home, which tilts the balance further.
That leaves maybe 5% for things that were raised in the same country as me, and let’s face it, that’s typically bioeco local produce that costs too much and has tapeworms in it.
The point is, your bones are not “of this soil” unless you’re a badger.
Oh, and let’s not forget that covering that global mix of nutrients currently constituting my fair vehicle are shoes from Italy, a shirt from California, a hoodie from New York and underwear from Zurich. Half that stuff is made of wool from New Zealand, the other from a polyethylene factory in China, and it was all made into a wearable shape in Thailand and Bangladesh and in the case of the shoes, apparently a cobbler shop in Italy.
I guess the conclusion is that antiglobalists are idiots.