Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Forget Shorter Showers -- http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/discuss/4801/

Photo by Chris LaMarca
[...] We can all jump on whatever life-sustaining, world resus[c]itating
bandwagon we wish; but if our behavior does not change...well then? Our demands are the industry's purpose, becau[s]e that is where the money is. What we pay for, they produce. This will go on ad infinitum until we say stop with our cash (hence, our behavior), not our vote.
I used the word "addict" for a reason. What is it you feel you cannot live
without? And, once you answer that question, what is its footprint via
water, carbon, air and whatever other resources we are depleting as collective?

If you wonder why things don't change, look at what you pay for and why.
We all play a part in the character that is destroying the world. No matter
what we protest, no matter our good intentions, if we do not act as
described above, we change nothing.
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Maybe we need to work a bit harder on distinguishing among needs (what keeps
us safe and alive), culture (good familiar home cookin' and even mon's
roast beef), and created WANTS (all the stuff in those relentless consumer
culture surround-sound ads - credit cards, sexy cars, seductive short-lived
widgets, fast food, no down payments, getaway faraway, just do it, I'm
worth it, syrupybubbly bad-for-your-teeth drinks, happyfication, sing-along
team songs) that persuade us that we should call ourselves (even in school
curriculum) "consumers." We can, if we chose, become discriminating
choosers of all the pieces of our lives: the food we eat (knowing more about
it), the clothes we choose (maybe those workers in Dacca, Bangladesh won't
have died for nothing), the products we buy to look better (are they
healthy?), the idea of endlessly renovating our spaces (old and homey used
to be charming), what's important about how we keep warm and cool and get
around (how can we reduce our fossil fuel consumption?).
All of this is possible and, now, urgent. Urgent if we care about the future
and our kids. Easy to find out since if we're here we're on the internet,
we can all can quite easily find how to be responsibly, ethically, fairly,
discriminatingly, honestly green.

I once read that to become vegetarian should take seven years: that it's
good to spend some time learning how to cook some things that are great,
that you love, that aren't meat. Then eating less meat (or no red meat, or
no meat at all) won't be much of a sacrifice. (And yes, it does mean being
willing to spend more time cooking. Indians and Asians are champions at
making fantastically delicious non-meat food: we can learn from them. Get a
good, sharp knife, and learn to be adept at chopping vegetables! Or get two
- and invite your mate, kids, friends to chop together.) You might discover
(as I did) that it's good food that's addictive, not just the taste of

 For a few years I taught a course where everyone had to do his/her
"Ecological Footprint" calculation – for some it was quite a poke in the
conscience - if everyone lived like you, the quiz asked, how many planets
would we need ? Most of the students, who recycled and therefore thoght they
were green, were shocked to discover that, even as students, they were up at
three or four Earths. It taught me some things, too. It's not really
comfortable staring at your own unthought-through habits and their
consequences. But it's a good place to start.

Good intentions are a good first step. After that, being an ethical
“unconsumer” is an ongoing adventure in discovery, creativity, chopping
and surprising new kinds of satisfaction. (I'm still working on it, but now
I can grow carrots and eggplants and can spaghetti sauce and bake bread and
make some pretty mean vegetable, lentil (+sometimes tofu in assorted Asian
styles) -spicy-saucy-dishes.
If you're up for new cooking ideas, one of my faves is the Moosewood
Restaurant New Classics cookbook – a mix of familiar and interestingly
ethnic food.
It can be fun to shop at farmers markets, or garden, and eat local, organic,
low-meat (or meatless), homemade, spicy, tasty, healthy
planet food.

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