Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

June 24, 2008

What would I refuse to do without?

Robbyn of “The Back Forty” has tagged me for a meme that has been bouncing around. I’ve said before that this is the place where meme’s go to die, and honestly that still stands true, but I’m going to at least answer this one because it’s gotten my wife and I talking quite a bit.
If memory serves, the actual question was “what would I REFUSE to give up to save Mother Earth?” Well prepare for the riot…

First off, again, saving the planet is not my primary concern. WHOA, don’t throw that tomato just yet. We do practice a lot of things in our home that are in line with the whole “Green” movement and I do truly believe that we need to change a lot of the things that we do as a society in order to tread lighter on the earth, but honestly, I didn’t come to this point from a save the planet perspective. In our home we began to make a lot of the changes that we did based on research that followed our oldest sons diagnosis with asthma and allergies. We found that a lot of the “normal” cleaners and home materials (i.e. carpet, paints, air fresheners, etc.) could very likely be doing more harm than good to not only him, but to the rest of our family. This was combined with a belief that we do live in a time of change. I/we believe that our typical industrial system is pending a change, if not collapse, and that yes global climate change is a reality. (Did mankind cause it, or merely exacerbate it is still out for debate for me.) I foresee a time when, like Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we need to make sweeping changes in the way that we produce food, transport ourselves and conduct business. I don’t know that our changes will be as immediate or as wide spread as Cuba’s were, but I do believe that it will happen to some degree and in our lifetime, certainly in my children’s. As a father and a husband I try to be proactive in whatever I can to prepare myself and my family for things that I see coming. I rarely use the term “Green” because I think it has really lost a lot of its bite, similar to the word “organic” for that matter. (When the USDA claims something, defines it and regulates it, you can bet more people will be certified in it, and more people will be gaming the system.) I prefer to use the term sustainable. I try to be more sustainable in everything I do. Let me rephrase that, I keep sustainability in mind with everything I do, big difference. We have a lot of things around our home that are not sustainable, and certainly wouldn’t fit into the “green” mold.  Paper towels, soda pop, and frozen pizza are couple that pop into my head. Not the healthiest or most sustainable packaged products, but their a fact of our home. We leave a light on in the bathroom all night, with no one in there and I can’t tell you how often I forget to turn off our outside garage lights; far too often I assure you. So I guess you see my point. Saving the planet, while noble and certainly of importance to us, is not an obsessive thing.
Now with that said, back to the question at hand. “What would I REFUSE to give up to save Mother Earth?”

1.       MyTruck: I could accomplish a lot without it and yeah, I could probably go without it if I had to, but it’s something that I think helps me to accomplish a lot of the things around our home that I couldn’t do, or at least very easily do, without it. Salvaging and repurposing both items and materials to accomplish the things I need while saving both money and “stuff” from entering landfills. Besides that fact alone, what would I do with it? Does it make sense for me to forego owning a low gas mileage vehicle and (assuming it is even possible) selling it to someone that may well use it much more than I do thereby increasing its impact?

2.       Meat: I love meat. I could live a mostly vegetarian lifestyle and be pretty happy, but eventually the carnivore inside kicks in and I need it. I suppose I could live without it were it absolutely necessary, but is it? I don’t think so. I’ve written many times about how I believe we need to eat less meat. It’s a fact that has been pointed out to me that I may not have qualified that statement correctly. What I mean by this is that as a populous, we need to eat less meat, not necessarily individually. Huh? What I mean is that if the “American Diet” continues to be such a meat centric diet, and as the developing countries of the world seek to embrace said “American Diet”, we are going to starve ourselves in excess. We’ll have lots of cheap meat, while our grains and bio-diverse agriculture disappear other than in how they relate to the production of meat or processed foods, both of which are tied to feed crops. By choosing to eat less meat or, where available affordably, grass fed and  heritage breed beef, I believe we maintain not only a valuable part of our food heritage but help to steer (get it…steer…meat…I slay myself sometimes.) the agricultural ship toward a more sustainable end.

3.       Movie Theater: Some of you may remember me mentioning it, others not, but we have a movie theater in our home and I would not be willing to go without it unless movies no longer existed and the power grid completely failed. Why? What’s so big about a movie theater? Well, simply put, we love movies. We enjoy the time we spend together in it either watching a movie, a good HD Nova documentary or a football game. It’s not a TV, those are what you just click on for mind numb time and I could do without those. This is an escape, a place where we can enjoy time either alone or together without disrespectful (and oft times plain rude) kids and adults alike. Again, this is also one of those things that I think generally is a net zero detriment to the world due to reduced energy use going to and coming from theaters, not to mention the huge overhead for the theater whether I am there or not. I save money, have a better experience, and heck I just love it. It stays!

Now, to take a more fatalistic view there’s nothing, really, that I would refuse to give up. I don’t feel that I am that tied to anything tangible so much that I would abjectly refuse to give it up were there a viable option to replace it. At some point many of us may have to actually look at the things that we are willing to give up, perhaps not due to global climate change as much global economic change or food supply chain change, but changes nonetheless.

I hope this frames me and my positions on this in a reasonably clear way, it’s a difficult topic to pin down, I think, without a bit of pure SWAG (scientific wild-ass guessing). So many variables and so many things that could potential become more important than others in a changed/ing world. Till that time, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away, doing the best with what I have and trying to be a good steward. We have all been entrusted with a great deal, the least we can do is make thoughtful decisions about our lifestyles rather than just run on autopilot.




Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your honesty. And I can nod along with many of the things you've said, too.

P~ said...

Thank you, RA, no use in me acting like I'm something I ain't right? Glad you and I see eye to eye on some things, it doesn't surprise me.

Robbyn said...

Awesome post...love it!! We're similar in that we came to this place, and mindset, at a time when we began doing what made the most sense for our "best life," and then began finding ourselves in very "green" company. It's been a joy, because we love diversity and we love trying to become slowly more sustainable in practice. It seems like many of the small things we've changed have added up to a lot more enjoyment of the real sort. I like what you wrote about your wife and you enjoying movies; we do, too. We currently have a TV monitor only to watch the fairly large stash of movies we've accumulated over the years...it makes for a very satisfying date night :)

Thanks for responding...I was really interested to see what you and your wife thought on these things.

Chicago Mike said...

Have you read The Long Emergency?

If not, you are reaching a lot of the same conclusions.

My wife and I are having similar conversations and taking similar measures. Always nice to know that if you have finally lost it, at least you lost it with some company.