Monday, December 10, 2007

More Better Bunk

A couple people wrote to tell me they liked yesterday's post about stuff so I thought I would share some particularly compelling writing (not mine, these guys'):

Check out this article as it lays out the anti-consumerism message so eloquently: "Our happiness does not depend on the consumption of conventional economic goods and services, but instead is enhanced when we have more time and space for socializing, for nature, for learning, and for really living instead of just consuming." Yup. When above a certain threshold, of course, which nearly everyone we know is.

Then there's this MoJo article from back in the spring written by Bill McKibben which has an amazing take on our desire to consume from a historical and anthropological standpoint. It hit upon all the nagging questions I had -- doesn't money equate with happiness if you're living in a shack? (yes, but only up to about $10K a year) and don't we need huge industrial farms to feed all the people on the planet? (no, they are actually less productive than small farms using mutually sustainable systems instead of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and he backs it up with large scale research done in developing countries). He also notes that our American psyche developed in the roots of some serious poverty and that the Founders were right to focus on economic growth when our ancestors only had one dress to wear (if they were lucky gals) and no shoes.

McKibben cites research on happiness pointing to more sustainable ways of living (note to self, gotta read this book by a 2003 Nobel Prize-winning economist) -- like the fact that having social networks makes you physically stronger as well as happier (a researcher injected flu viruses in college students' noses to prove this, which is amusing considering, well, the kids who got sick might actually have a word or two to say about how much happier that participant fee made them!), bringing us full circle to the idea that acting in environmentally sound ways being better for us as well as the planet. Going to a farmer's market involves 10x the human interaction aka connections than going to a grocery store.

Even better if you can swing actually going as a family instead of depleting all of your marriage capital for the weekend by leaving the children with your spouse for hours while you fetch said sustainably-produced farm products. Convenience did emerge for a reason, so we could spend more time with our families instead of churning butter.... If we're really hanging out with our peeps (which I guarantee this unit is as much as humanly possible) instead of jumping on the hamster wheel to churn out more duckets, it makes the sustainable food endeavor somewhat like being a Luddite as I tap my computer keys. My Polyface beef bones are in day one of a three-day long simmer into delightful stock as I write, and that whole process, beneficial as it is to the environment (local farmer!) and to our health (grass-fed!) is not without its cost (procuring the food, preparing it=time not focused on those I love). But that's a whole 'nother struggle: enviro-friendly, slow-food savoring vs efficiency and convenience, which doesn't have to instantly translate into the Golden Arches, just less prep more family time). Whew! I'll stop hair-splitting here.

(Couple quick shares: When Santa Turned Green looks so cute and perfect, you should snap it up to put in your kid's Christmas stocking wait until it comes to your local library and borrow it!

For those of you who are following the presidential election lead-up, I've found my fave new source of campaign news: Political Nanny.)


Mrs. G. said...

Thanks for the great links...I love the Green Santa book. My kids are too old for it but the ones in my writing classes would get a kick out of it. It could inspire some interesting stories...thanks.

Anonymous said...

although ive been dipping in and out of presidential politics

you've got me hooked on the political nanny.

thank you j