A trend is afoot called the sustainable living movement. It has noble goals of reducing our use of resources, not buying so much, using less. Less water, less oil, less packaging. I believe in this. I think there are things that we can do to make ourselves less dependent without suddenly becoming granola-eating, prairie skirt-wearing, kombucha-drinking*, kumbaya-singing dirty hippies (my apologies if you do any of these things!). There is a middle ground.
Kelly Coyne, in the New York Times article profiling her and her husband and their new book railed against "lentils and gloom". I tend to agree. (Note, Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen do not know me, I just love their books).
I didn't get into the "sustainability movement" because I felt I was too dependent on oil or because of factory farming or because I read something horrible about chicken McNuggets. I got into this lifestyle because I grew a tomato and I found that getting my hands dirty made me happy and at the end of a couple of weeks, I could eat a tomato. I liked coming home from my desk job, putting on a pair of work pants and digging out weeds or sitting at the dining room table julienning orange peel for 4 hours in complete silence. I also didn't jump into everything at once.
I think this is key. I think if I had tried to plant a huge farm immediately because "zomg we are killing the earth!!!!1!!! I would have completely burned myself, not to mention bummed myself out. It would have felt like a chore. Who wants to do that?
On the other hand, what I did is far more sustainable in a personal way. I started with zucchini. I'm now up to 10 different crops and working on the rest of the farm. It is becoming more and more enjoyable instead of being a chore. I look forward to coming home and looking for projects to do in the yard. Some days I'm freaking exhausted though. I get up at 5 a.m. for work and when I get home in the afternoon, there are days that all I want to do is take a nap. Thankfully, the way I've built this up gradually has allowed me to figure out how to work at my job, work in the garden and then take a nap, if necessary. Soon I'll be adding on more chores, and I'll just fall into bed every night. But I imagine I'll be pretty happy about it.
Last night I came home from work looking forward to my afternoon. I pulled out the peas (done for the season), weeded a bit in the tomatoes, picked some zucchini and spread some straw in the basil. Then I made a zucchini, bacon and gruyere quiche, ate it and fell into bed exhausted and happy.
I'm not doing any of this because of the big, bad industrial food complex, but it has the effect of being good for me and good for the earth. But I'm not getting rid of my car just yet, and let me tell you, she's a damn guzzler.
Hopefully in the next couple of years, I'll be able to get a hybrid.
*Kombucha is not safe for people with immune deficiency.