Fat and the Environment

A while back I posted a New York Times article that brought to light the notion that fat people are the scapegoat for today’s problems. Whether we are talking about global warming, commercialization or the economy for some reason it’s the fat people who are taking everyone one else down with us. As a fat individual myself I find the idea that my own “carbon footprint” is any larger than a normal 22-year-old college student/waitress to be preposterous.

Take into consideration that I drive a brand new car that gets 32 miles to the gallon, I take special care in not accelerating too fast since it can burn gas faster and make sure my tires are inflated properly. But with that said, the American lifestyle that I am accustom to makes it hard to change myself into someone that is more eco friendly. I have begun not using plastic bags; instead carrying around the reusable shopping bags that target or GreenLoop.com carries.

On Thursday Slate posted an article about Pixar’s new family film Wall-E I must admit that I have been itching to see it ever since I found out about it but since the details of the story have come out I have not only not seen it but it has left a sour taste in my mouth about ever seeing anything related to Pixar again.

I find it alarming that a movie that has been made for children is sending out such a harmful message, not only because it has the possibility of creating even more hostility towards fat individuals but because it is completely mindless. Read the complete article here.

So what is this powerful and profound message? Wall-E tells us that if we don’t change the way we live, we’ll all get really fat and destroy the world. The plot begins with the idea that a megacorporation called Buy N Large has essentially taken over the planet and induced so much consumption and waste that humans must escape their dying planet on an enormous, space-faring cruise ship. Once onboard, their self-destructive tendencies only get worse: After 700 years adrift, humans have grown too bloated to walk and too lazy to think.

See what I’m saying? Yet again the fat people ruined this fantasy world that Wall-E lives in now, and are stupid on top of it.

It ought to go without saying that this stereotype of the “obese lifestyle” is simply false. How fat you are has a lot more to do with your genes than with your behavior. As much as 80 percent of the variation in human body weight can be explained by differences in our DNA. (Your height is similarly heritable.) That is to say, it may not matter that much whether you eat salads or drink “cupcakes-in-a-cup,” whether you bike everywhere or fly around in a Barcalounger. If you have a propensity to become obese, there’s only so much that can be done about it.
That’s not to say that our circumstances can’t lead us to gain weight. But there’s little evidence that overeating causes obesity on an individual level and no real reason to think that anyone can lose a lot of weight by dieting. (Most of us fluctuate around a natural “set point.”) We also know that children who watch a lot of television are no less active than other kids and that pediatric obesity rates are not the direct result of high-fat diets.

In the end I think this whole idea that fat people are destroying the world has more to do with the fact that the hummer driving upper class doesn’t take the initiative to reduce their own carbon emissions. They would rather point fingers while looking down on others about what they are doing in their own life that might be causing global warming and many other problems in our American society. Maybe what Pixar should be preaching is how we should learn to first put the blame on our self, not others.