101 Things You Can Do About Climate Change and Peak Oil

August 4, 2007 at 12:17 pm (environment) (, , , , , , , )

I am one of those people that likes lists about things we can or should do to help the environment. So here’s one, here.

It must be noted that many of the things listed are quite repetitive, and that it takes a certain amount of privilege (in many cases, an extremely large amount) to complete some of the tasks mentioned. Which is one of my biggest problems with the current organic/green consumerism/environmentalist craze. For example, a few months ago I attended a conference/presentation of sorts hosted by my local farmer’s market, and heard many local, organic food experts and enthusiasts speak about the benefits of supporting local, organic agriculture, of which there are many.

I found myself seriously annoyed when this one guy took the (metaphorical) stage and began to speak about how food products are really the only commodity that consumers expect, and want, to be completely identical to each other, instead of original. An egg is an egg, right? Well, no, it’s not. The way the chicken that laid it was treated, the way the egg was packaged, the entire process of getting the egg from the place of production to your refrigerator makes a huge difference in the taste, nutrition, and overall quality of the egg. These variables are commonly undervalued. This was not the part of his speech that annoyed me. This part, I found interesting.

What bothered me was when he started to talk about how, because an egg is NOT “just an egg,” or a strawberry is NOT “just a strawberry,” and we should obviously place more value on the healthier and more delicious one, we should all be not just willing, but glad to spend more money for it. Significantly more money. He proceeded to bite into a large, red, juicy strawberry that was grown locally without pesticides or herbicides and was handpicked etc. etc. etc. And then to tell us that the tiny box of strawberries he was holding (and I mean tiny) was worth the eight bucks he spent on it. And that they were so good, and so superior to chain store-bought berries, that it should be a goal of the current food movement to convince people to re-prioritize so that eight bucks no longer seems extravagant for a small box of strawberries.

This is where I have to disagree. The biggest goal should be to figure ways to expand access to healthy foods that benefit the local environment and economy so that everyone has access to it. The lowest common denominator in terms of healthy food should increase in quality so that even the cheapest food isn’t, you know, equivalent to poison. So, eight bucks for strawberries? Give me a break. More people would jump at the chance to eat better if they could, but the vast majority simply can’t afford it.

Maybe his were productive talking points in the sense that people with lots of money might be convinced to use it for the communal good, and that, if enough people with lots of money were convinced, it would be that much easier, because of increased demand, to eventually expand the scope of the benefit to the masses. The presentation really rubbed me the wrong way, though, and seemed like a backwards argument for a backwards plan. Surely, there must be a better, more productive approach.

Anyway, tangent over. Some of the items on the above-linked list smack of the sort of privilege just detailed, but it’s still worth a look over if you like those kinds of lists.

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2 Comments

  1. Brian said,

    I can see your point about the strawberry guy, but I tend to believe (or maybe its hope) that your comment here is, indeed the case:

    “Maybe his were productive talking points in the sense that people with lots of money might be convinced to use it for the communal good, and that, if enough people with lots of money were convinced, it would be that much easier, because of increased demand, to eventually expand the scope of the benefit to the masses.”

    Let’s face it….without some sort of totalitarian control, our society will include the “have-mores”…..let’s get them putting their money to something, right?

    like the blog, by the way

  2. Emily said,

    Yeah, you’re right. I just get impatient about things like that. And thanks. :)

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