8/13/08

Veggies, Seeds, and Wheels

So we have a new(-ish) radio station in the DC Metro area called 94.7- "The Globe". I kind of like it, which I guess is a sign of being finally weaned off of Album 88.5, Atlanta's college station that was just as likely to play Ugly Duckling or the Fiery Furnaces as Gregorian Chant.(Oh how I miss that!) "The Globe" isn't quite as musically diverse, but it is distinctively upbeat, in contrast to the other dominant local station DC 101, which has a brash, frequently sexist, and Lincoln Park-loving style that makes me crazy. The Globe is way calmer: along with chirpy deejays and nostalgic alt-rock, there are occasional tips on how to save the planet, one tiny action at a time.

Having this blast at me right before the new R.E.M. song always leads me to thinking (angst-fully) about my daily actions and their potential impact.

For all the millions of ideas about how YOU! can save the planet from our inevitable descent into a climate change disaster, its very difficult to actually gather a comprehensive plan for living wisely. Well, its not that its difficult- more like, contradictory and confusing. For instance, you could unplug all of your appliances at night, but turning on a desktop computer everyday is enough to undo all that hard work. You could try to use cold water washing dishes, but doesn't it seem to take longer and defeat the purpose? And using re-usable napkins and diapers seems like a good idea, but aren't washing machines huge energy-drainers?

...And on the other side of the spectrum are the rich-people ideas. I'm thrilled for people that can afford install solar-powered toilets and bamboo kitchen flooring, but unless its IKEA-priced and fit for a rental, its not coming to my abode.

The problem with these kinds of actions isn't that they don't work, but that they seem to require expert intervention to make it work. I'm of the opinion that you don't need a PhD in Environmental studies to make a difference. Isn't it possible that just doing a few things, consistently, could make a huge difference if done on a large scale? In my opinion, and I'm no expert, 3 moderately sized life-style changes could make a huge impact that would negate the little fuck-ups we all make everyday when forgetting to unplug the toaster.

1. Biking
2. Gardening/ composting
3. Going vegan

I have done all three of these things, but I never seem to do them at the same time. Its kind of funny, because they feed into each other a bit, don't they? Biking requires healthy, high energy food, the likes of which a vegan diet is well-equipped to offer. Gardening and composting are both well suited to vegetarians, since after all, you can't grow animals on your patio like you can zucchini, and second, you can't (or shouldn't) compost dairy and meat products.

All of these tactics target major polluters and energy wasters- cars, the factory farming industry, the produce industry- but they are all also personally exciting and fun. (Somewhat unlike, say, not wearing socks for a year or replacing all your lightbulbs.) And the bottom line is, these practices get you outside (or at least to a farmers market) and interacting with the world around you to the extent that you can no longer ignore it.

And isn't that kind of the point?
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5 comments:

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Great post T! And you are right, many of the "environmentally friendly" things people urge us to do are rather elitist and out of the price range of most average folks.

The things you list are fun, they improve our health, reduce our burden on the environment, and connect us with local folks of a like mind.

Liz² said...

good points, every little change does make a difference. and I too miss my college station from back home! the montreal station is great, but no gregorian chant to be had ever. ;...;

VeganCowGirl said...

A great post! I agree, it is rather confusing and frustrating at times. But, I think that if we all just tried our best things would be in such a better place.

I agree with Jennifer as well about the concept of making Eco-living an elitist life choice (a la Whole Foods-esque shopping). Everyone should have access to organics, and everyone should have access to the ability of making the planet a better place to live. But, when you can afford either 3 pounds of white crappy pasta or a slice of one organically grown avocado, (and you are a mother of three, without work or education and facing any of the other barriers many people face every day)...what do you do...you buy the pasta....(or other not so healthy product)--- not too say that pasta, in the right amount and made with w.w. isn't a great choice, but, as your only staple, people won't get the right nutrition.

Great post. Happy music listening.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Great post! Every little thing can make a big difference.

MB said...

Hey, another Album 88 refugee! Loved it (used to tape Rhythm & Vibes, in the late 80s/early 90s). I lost Album 88 when I moved here in 97, and still bitch about the lack of good radio in DC.