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3/14/08

Going Local

I read an interesting article in Metropolis last night, "Going Local" by James Howard Kunstler.

I encourage you to read it.

It sent me off on a slightly different tangent of reflection. We are inundated by "green" and we all try to stay on track as encouraging gentle lifestyles in a positive way without sinking into greenwashing’s shiny consumerism or the hoarse blaring of a death-toll message shouted in spittle mouthed fear.

But there was just something there, in this article, that made me think about what my own identity of "green" is, and how it has changed.

Many here were green before there was "green"- I mean, you’re talkin’ to a girl who grew up with a family farm, who always had a vegetable garden and composting, and whose family had solar panels in the ’70s.

What changed?

For myself, my vegetables became not just a pleasure and addition to our table, but where, in an urban environment, I carefully plan and rely on fresh produce from our garden.

It was the perplexing realization that I do not have the *right* in my city to have minigoats for milk or hens for fresh eggs in my large, fenced-in back yard- that just bothers me! I strongly feel that every human should have the right to rely on themselves for sustenance, and as someone committed to helping those less fortunate, it frustrates me that these families with meager incomes don’t have the right to provide their families with fresh eggs and milk.

Having children, it was the knowledge I gleaned from information on GMOs, hormones in meat and milk, pesticides, and the horrible factory farm conditions and the great respect for life I have that led me to only purchase meat from people I know whose animals are free-range and naturally fed, to raise heirloom vegetables, save seed, and patronize our neighbors’ farms.

It was the shock of reading about how our seed companies are purposely creating vegetables and grains that will not produce viable seed so that you (and farmers) will have to purchase their seeds each season!

It was the fun of a science experiment:
I giggle over solar cooking, yet it has changed my life. With two young children whining to stay outside instead of forcing them indoors so momma can make dinner, I now just throw food in the solar oven and… go off and play!

The cold frames I use enable me to defy cold weather, giving the seeds just enough more heat to resist freezing and get an early start on production.

And as someone in the green building industry, it was the disgust I felt as I saw endless tracts of vinyl, huge, ugly, inefficient houses being the major choice a home buyer has, and even then they are out of financial reach for most first time home buyers.

So, there you have it, my latest musings as I stand up on the cafeteria room chair to rant…

So, who is gonna kick me off today?
; )

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