Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just Because We Can, Doesn't Mean We Should.

What's better, what's worse? Veggies not in season shipped from far away, or locally-grown, sustainably, ethically raised meat?

No such thing, anti-omnivores say. You can't have meat with ethics.

In a previous post, I talked about "Tomatoland" and how our demand for out-of-season fruits and veggies needs to be examined. but no one examines it. Everyone just tromps right on down to the store and gets bent if their produce they want RIGHT NOW isn't there and pretty.

Let's think about times past. The Midwest... the East Coast.... Native Americans and early settlers. Were they vegetarians? Hardly. They would have starved by February. They had to plan ahead, and grow as much as they could and store as much as they could and - here's the big part - rely on what was readily available around them at the time. That meant your diet was filled with grains and roots and whatever Pa brought home from the hunt at certain times of the year. (Yeah, I pretty much did a Little House reference right there.) Can you go out and buy lettuce whenever you wish? Of course you can! That's what's so great about modern times! That's what freedom and choice is all about! Dad-gum it, I have the gull-durn right to march down to my grocery store and buy me my completely out-of-season cucumbers! Because I'm a gosh-darn American, and that's what we do! Because we are superior and evolved!

We can do this. Should we?

Shipping *stuff* from wherever so we can eat it whenever involves a lot of used-up resources. Start with the crap needed for growing the produce. Pesticides galore. Forcing crops to grow in places they are not usually grown, without the nutrients they usually have. (But jobs!!! Giving people jobs!!! Nope. Fail. False.) Skip a few steps and think about the shipping of said product from Florida or California to, say, Ohio. Fuel. Fossil fuel, that is, consumed for what? So you can have your out-of-season stuff. (But... jobs??) Because you deserve it. Let's think about all the packaging. Unnecessary  packaging. Of course it is unnecessary, because it is NOT necessary for you to have that tomato just because you want it.

Is this an easy problem to fix? Well, yes and no. Yes because we have the power to do it, no because it would take such a huge shift in consciousness and lifestyle that it surely won't happen any time soon. Do we need to? Yes. Look at where we are heading. We need to change a lot. We need to be local local local and we need to stop taking so much for granted. We need to look at what we do and why, and how we can change that.

You know why cucumbers used to taste SO GOOD to me in the summer? Because I could only have them in the summer. Because I didn't take them for granted. We need to get back to being more like that, or we may as well forget it. Mother Earth does NOT need us. We need her.