Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why You Really Need to Give a S**t About Climate Change & Resource Issues Part the Last: Growing Hope

It is easy to feel daunted by the changes needed to be ready for a planet with less oil, arable land, variety and availability of food, one with fewer jobs and more risks.

And, being that we're good deniers, us humans, it's much easier to duck one's head and say "It's all too much, and I don't know what is fact and what is fiction, so I'm just going to sit on this fence post for a while longer.  Maybe I'll do something later. If someone could just show me that this change is certain..."

I know I feel that way.   I feel it in the grocery store and farm stands, where eating by my moral compass continues to hike my food budget - and sometimes I don't eat my morals, so to speak,  as the cost is high, and I am time-strapped.   As illustrated by the open packet of snack stick crackers next to me.   That said, I'm not going for perfection, just better.   Somedays I hit 'better', somedays not.  But I'm going to keep trying.  Will we get to the 100 mile diet in time? I hope so.

It's not just food, though.

We priced out all the work needed to make our house more insulated this year - windows, a replacement for the front door, blowing insulation in....it was more than $70k, which was overwhelming.  So we put some money into finishing our backyard instead, since it was dug up for a project - we took the work off of my husband's back - literally.     

The work on our house still needs doing.   It desperately needs insulation and new windows - and the house will get them.   Just probably piecemeal.  That work comes next.   We do have 4 windows for the basement, and hope to get those in before the snow flies.

And our fruit trees are all still a few years away from bearing, and the garden is always a work in progress.   As I wrote yesterday, we still don't have chickens, and after that I'm not sure what's next.   I think Sander will nix having a cow.  :)  Honeybees maybe?  I'm not sure.  Something will pop into my head, and then my amazing husband will figure out how to make it so.

So I get it that this is not simple.  But I do think that making these changes - even a little at a time - will matter in the long run.   Even if we need time to become sustainable, we're ahead of the curve.  It's kind of like the people who, when a war-torn country comes to peace, step forward with plans that they've been drawing up on how the government should run, or how the sewage system will work, or whatever.  They don't know when their plans will become useful, just that when the time comes, a governing body will be needed, and sewage will have to be dealt with.   So it is with the apricot, apple and cherry trees we've planted.  So it is with our plans to live more sustainably.

There's this idea that some problems are too big to solve.   But I don't think that's true.  There are problems that are too big to solve easily and quickly, but I don't believe there's many problems that actually are unsolvable.  We may not always like or expect the solution, but solutions are there.  

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love" is what Mother Teresa said.  

Planting a garden is an act of love, and of hope.  It's also a practical solution to $5/pound organic tomatoes in the grocery store, quite frankly.  And it is a community builder - neighbors who are there to be asked for gardening advice, neighbors to receive it.  The adorable one likes nothing better than to 'pick' - be it raspberries in June, tomatoes in August, or squash in the fall.   She is intensely proud of the literal fruits of her family's labors, and to be able to participate.  It gives us a reason to be outside, and in the kitchen, the places where families and communities gather.

After we pick whatever it is, she follows me to the kitchen, to help me prepare the food.  She wants to put her hand over mine on the knife handle (yes, we're careful) to chop things, and to stir carefully whatever is on the stove, with Mommy running interference from the flame and hot food.  Extra long wooden spoons are perfect for her purpose.   Given the choice of watching TV or joining Sander or I in the kitchen or the garden, she will choose the participative activity.  And this is a kid that never misses an opportunity to watch Strawberry Shortcake reruns.   

Planting a garden won't stop energy shortages, but it might mean jumping in the car less to go grocery shopping.  It is one solution, and it is one of the solutions all of us can take on.  Which is important - we humans are meant to be productive and creative.  Turning cucumbers into pickles, squash into soup, and tomatoes into sauce is inherently a creative act.  As is starting seeds.  You become much more than a consumer.  You too, are a creator.

Well, that's that.  You can decide to give a s**t or not about all this.  This is not about what side  you are politically (actually, the local movement has much for conservatives to like - power to the people, decentralization - it's not just a crunchy liberal thing).  I hope you decide to join in the local food thing, because we could really use your help.

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