I’m going on vacation at Hawthorne Valley farm in Ghent, New York (and to answer questions about travel: train), so I programmed the computer to serve up some cool thoughts while I’m gone.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned
my local eating mentor, Alisa Smith, who co-authored the 100-Mile Diet (titled Plenty in the
Big news for her and her blog readers came when, after two years of buying nothing new, she broke down and bought some undies. Meanwhile, here are some of her wise words taken from her blog on the topic of sustainability:
Lately, some other environmentally bent bloggers (Colin Beavan and Sara Gottlieb ) have questioned what we're sustaining, where we draw the lines of our commitments to conservation. Without reading any research on this line of conservation theory, here's a basic outline of what I think sustainability means, and the way that I approach those goals.
When I refer to sustainability, I'm addressing human lifestyles that will allow the persistence of the range of life forms that we currently enjoy on Earth. Most important to me, is the preservation of habitats such that all species can play out their destinies without an overbearing human influence. I take an eco-centric view of life, not prizing humanity above the rest to the extent that this is possible. I am human after all.
Clearly people are part of nature, and thus enjoy the same sanctity that I ascribe to life, in general. Clearly our actions must be viewed in this context of humans as part of nature. Some folks see a division between the tech fix greenies and the simple lifers. I guess I fall closer to the simple lifer side without rejecting the places where technology can help us.
I try to view sustainability through a community lens, which becomes more difficult as we globalize and homogenize, attempting to convince the world that the US standard of living should be a goal. My ecological footprint needs to be such that I'm not personally overdrawing resources to the detriment of other species, and indeed to the detriment of my own kind in less wealthy regions of the world.
As I've come to these conclusions (which I'm sure will transform over time) I've found a need to examine my life in terms of the basics (food, water, shelter, family) and modern human existences (transportation, employment, societial position). I feel I should consume resources at a rate that allows their regeneration in such time that those resources, and any others dependent upon them, do not disappear as a result of my wants.
Colin asked what lines we draw. I feel like I draw the line at my health, and I even weigh that (a bit obsessively) at times. So I'm healthy enough to get around by bike, so I ride. But I need anti-inflammatories so I take them! I'm a healthy vegetarian w/o supplements. I was an unhealthy vegan, even with supplements.
I also draw a line where privilege meets right. This is perhaps the most difficult to define, and it is highly personal. I believe in a right to food, water, shelter, self determination, and knowledge. I find our abilities to attain these are highly variable. I only aspire that my own pursuit of these rights allow other people and life the same opportunities.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.