For as long as humans have existed, we have needed food to survive. From our humble beginnings as hunter gatherers to the now extravagant, new age restaurants, we as humans have come a long way in how we consume our food. In Lizzie Widdicombe’s article about Soylent and its creator’s hopes and dreams, we are given a glimpse into what the future of our food consumption could look like. The dream of ending world hunger is reviewed while the nightmare never eating for pleasure is also touched upon.
In reviewing the words of Widdicombe and Rob Rhinehart himself, the dreams created by the use of Soylent, like nding world hunger and effectively using our planet’s resources, offer humanity a bright future. The biggest dream touched upon in the article was that of ending world hunger. Rhinehart discussed the idea of soylent- producing algae. At the time, his vision of the future involved no wars, famine, or resource competition. I have always been a strong believer that well fed individuals have a higher capacity for success.
When we finally achieve the goal of feeding our people fairly, we will see the end to ignorance. Children who are properly nourished more well developed than those who truggle to feed themselves on a daily basis. The organization called Feeding America reports that 15. 3 million children live in food-insecure households. This is in just America alone. If Soylent was readily available to them and other children struggling to eat in foreign countries, think of the successful individuals we would be feeding in our world. Too often children are set up for failure from birth.
This is usually attributed to the region they are born in, not due to anything the child has done. With Rhinehart’s invention, we can make any region on Earth into a self-sustaining environment. Another benefit to Soylent Rhinehart discussed in Widdicombe’s article was the lack of waste involved in its production. With global warming becoming a bigger threat each and every day, we need to begin thinking about ways we can reduce our impact on this world. Farming and food production are often extremely inefficient. Harvesting beef is one of the most detrimental actions farmers partake in.
Not only do cattle take up 24% of available space on Earth, they also consume 70% to 80% of grain produced in the US. If we can either end the production of beef or even lower it at all, the impact will be onumental. Widdicombe’s article mentions how people are nostalgic for the times before industrialized farming and genetically modified food. The truth is though, organic farming is far less efficient and does more damage to the environment than industrialized farming does. Even though modern farming techniques are far from perfect, they have at least become somewhat efficient.
Times News reported that the organic method produces 25% less crops than the industrialized method does. With how easy Soylent is to produce, it seems logical for society to make a shift to consuming this type of sustenance. Going into college, I know my time will be stretched thin. A good portion of Widdicombe’s article described Rhinehart’s interaction with college aged individuals. While drinking Soylent in order to increase my study time may not be my prerogative, I can see how it would be an efficient use of time for others.
Like Rhinehart stated, his goal is not to eliminate the consumption of food, he wants to make eating more efficient and only enjoy food for the experience and social purposes. For a person who has a difficult time eating enough food throughout the day, Soylent is a wonderful option. They know precisely what is in the drink and how many calories they consume. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a person who overeats can easily track their intake through Soylent. It makes eating and calculating how much you’re eating so much easier.
Also mentioned in the article was the fact that ingesting your nutrients in the form of a liquid is not a new process. Digesting food through a feeding tube is a common method doctors use when patients are too ill to eat solid food. So while Soylent may seem like a foreign concept to many, it has been used in practice for a long, long time. The universality of Soylent is one of its biggest defining features. Seeing as there are dozens of websites dedicated to the adjustment of the original recipe, it is easy to see how many could become obsessed with the product.
The factory version of Soylent is sometimes described as pasty, bland, watered-down pancake mix. While many people just write off the product useless, many have been personalizing their food substitute to fit their own needs. Like Widdicombe’s article said, you can add anything from chocolate to kale into your Soylent recipe. In doing this, people have voided the fear that our future of onsumption is full of boredom and paste. Just because something seems new and foreign doesn’t mean it is bad.
The idea of Soylent, and its often negative reception, is a good example of how people respond to new things. When computers were introduced to the general public, no one thought they would last. At the time, many thought typewriters were going to be the norm for years to come. We as a society need to be more receptive to new ideas. Too often we write off an “insane” or “impossible” idea that will never take hold in our world. If we were to give items like Soylent a chance, we may be pening doors we never even knew were available to us.
Rhinehart’s main dream, one I can really connect with, is that of improving humanity, and our Earth in the process. As I stated earlier, global warming is an all too frightening reality we have to deal with. It isn’t something we have to worry about in fifty or one hundred years, it’s happening now. That is the real dream I see with Soylent. If we can think of any way to improve our lives and that of our Earth, that is a win. No matter the cost, no matter the consequences to us. We need creative thinkers like Rhinehart to help preserve our planet.
Farming isn’t our only issue regarding global warming. Wars over land and the waste from manufacturing in general also prove to detrimental to our world. Switching to Soylent may not solve all of these issues, but it is a step in the right direction. The Soylent dream is a complicated one. While it may seem scary in concept, this drink is an idea that can change our world. The combination of all the aforementioned benefits combine into one dream: to better our society. The many misconceptions surrounding Soylent are holding the product back at the moment.
If we were to educate the public on its benefits and the positive impact it can have on our world, I am positive that more people would be receptive to the idea of a meal substitute. The real fight will be getting past corporations that only stand to gain profit by exploiting our resources and keeping people ignorant. Once we realize that ignorance is not bliss, we can move forward as a society. Rhinehart’s vision of an altruistic, efficient future is very attractive to me. A world without waste, famine, and war seems like a good trade for some watered-down pancake paste.