This premise has always worked for me. It is a book title by author E. F. Schumacher subtitled A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.
The big gestures will not save this planet. I think Steven Lewis has that right. It is the small home grown initiatives that make change sustainable. It is heartening to know some people actually are acting on that impulse. Many artists embrace this idea as much for economics as expediency. Farmers try too.
I spent Saturdays from 5.30 am ’till 12 in my youth trading tomatoes and cukes for quarters at the local farmers market helping my aunt Madeline.
Recently my uncle in Maine extolled the great taste of the Ontario hot house tomatoes he was able to buy at his local supermarket. I am convinced they were grown just down the road from us. I emailed back and said “Well Hugh, how nice for you. All the tomatoes at our local supermarket come from Mexico”.
We forget that we have choices as consumers and as inhabitants of the planet.
These days I question the life I have devoted to my non-consumer stance. I would never buy canned goods as most things that come in a can have used more energy units to be made than what they contain (I always figured that was a bad deal) and I avoided products from other countries simply because the goods have travelled so far they have used too much energy just to get here.
It is an impossible idea that we can buy all our goods locally now. We grow good garlic in Ontario, but all of the garlic at the supermarket comes from China. Go figure.
We have little industry left in our part of the world so I console myself by trying to buy that which is already used. This is not a perfect solution but it does help to mitigate guilt.
That was then.
Now that global warming is a reality that cannot be undone I find my earlier resolution at conservation waning. I do buy canned goods these days and even lettuce in non-recyclable containers (but not tomatoes from Mexico).
Does that mean I have little hope for the future or that I console myself with thoughts that we will eventually be whisked off to another universe?