Green is as green does.

[Quoting Desperate (Green) Housewives] The greenest people are totally unhip and unlikely to be photographed for the Times or a glossy magazine. They’re still wearing their clothes from twenty years ago. They aren’t keeping their home spa-worthy clean. No need to worry about polluting the air with chemicals, if you aren’t dusting every five minutes. They aren’t constantly renovating their kitchens and bathrooms, all of which uses enormous amounts of energy and resources; they are still living with the Formica numbers from the 70s. They aren’t jetting off to Europe to browse the Paris markets; they go bowling in the next town over. They aren’t constantly shopping for new things and tossing out the old things.

Barring the bit about jetting off to Europe (is it okay if the purpose is to visit family?) the author could have been peering in our window.  Good to know we're cool if not hip.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Did anyone else grow up with that phrase hanging around their living environment—as counsel, as a warning, as a reprimand? I did. We sure didn’t live it as well as we might have, but still, I heard it recited often enough, from my parents and grandparents and church leaders and others, to accept it as the Gospel truth, long before I read any of the philosophy or politics or economics that persuaded me of its correctness on their own. Basically, the message is that the way to prosperity and happiness—at least insofar as the material world is concerned—is to live conservatively and renounce extravagance and stick with what you have and know.

[R]eal environmentalism begins with “tending to” our environment, rather than upgrading it or ourselves in the name of continual betterment, and supporting those moral causes and political campaigns that are actually trying to make tending to our families and jobs and neighborhoods more possible, rather than selling us on constantly retraining and retrofitting ourselves and our world.

Sons of Liberty, 2009

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of Kansas secessionists. The participants were rowdy, complaining of economic gigantism squashing them flat and bureaucratic thugs hounding their every move. They were all sick and tired of worker-ant existence in the hive-mind of American groupthink and they wanted out....Kansas patriots fomenting disunion? No, though there are a few of those kicking around these parts. These were local farmers organizing a farmer’s market....[T]he Spirit of ‘76 showed up in force. Damned were the federal busy-bodies who tell local farmers what they can and can’t sell; condemned were the centralized agents of agri-business who want ID chips implanted in livestock; mocked were the credentialed witch-doctors from the department of agriculture who own the brand “organic.”

All that was left undone was a patriotic march to the local Enormo-Mart to dump the limp and faded out-of-season tomatoes imported from South America into the local pond (which isn’t quite Boston Harbor, but it would have served). And while there was no Declaration, it was clear that these small growers wanted out–out of forced participation in the economic union of cheap mass production, central planning, credit money, and the ignorant consumerism they despised.

[Author Michael] Pollan issues this simple dictate: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The harping of a food-scold?  Perhaps. But Pollan fleshes his commandment out well, especially the first third. By “eat food” Pollan actually has in mind something quite revolutionary, because you can’t buy “food” most places. Walk into your local Mega-lo-Mart and what you see is not food—it’s processed corn syrup and assorted chemicals and “nutrients” packaged in plastic and shot so full of preservatives it will never rot.

Food rots. If it doesn’t rot, it’s not food. That’s a good principle to live by.

[S]elf-provisioning is dirty work done by sun hardened men who obtain...membership in the rarefied league of freemen who can pretty much tell anyone and everyone, as circumstances may require, to go to hell without concern for the consequences (taxman excepted). That’s the feed store definition of freedom in Jefferson County, Kansas, though it’s not taught much in social studies textbooks. Only such men—rich or poor, barber or builder, clodhopper or shopkeeper—know true equality, for they know and honor the true measure of the other....[T]he food problem in this country described and catalogued so aptly by Pollan is ultimately a symptom of the much more disturbing problem: that the league of freemen has dwindled to near extinction.  The important questions start not with what we eat but with who we are.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 6, 2009 at 5:37 am | Edit
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