Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sustainability, Kiss Mah Butt

Being human is not sustainable, at least not according to the current philosophies on living green. About the most sustainable thing I could do right now is to commit suicide. I would immediately stop consuming, and while my corpse would become a small source of pollution, it would at least counter that by renewing the soil in which it were placed.

Even if I were to divest myself of a modern life and go to live in the woods as a gatherer, I would still be a drain on the environment. I would pick wild berries and seeds for my (of course) vegan diet, which I would proceed to digest and eliminate as feces, which would be pollution. There would be times when I might need to make a fire to keep myself warm, which would also pollute. I'm sure there are other tasks that I would perform for my survival that would leave some footprint, but even the two basic functions listed above would prove to leave too much of a mark on the earth to be considered 100% environmentally friendly.

We do face real environmental problems, problems which require solutions. I simply don't believe that following the latest green fads and marching in step with everyone else, regardless of your own personal needs, goals or desires is the way to achieve solutions. Americans (and others in the industrialized world) throw themselves head-first into the latest advice on being good to the planet without fully researching the pros and cons, the benefits and potential drawbacks of every scheme. So while I do not contest that man-made environmental damage takes place, I do part ways with those who contend that all environmental change is man-made damage and that the "solution" of the moment is the one we should follow to save the earth, regardless of the consequences to man or even the environment itself down the road.

I could go on, and I could list specific examples which illustrate my point (and I will, if anyone asks), but in this post, let it suffice to say that I reject "sustainability" and living "green" as it is force-fed to me. I desire real change--both in what we do to the planet and in our attitudes towards the planet. Obviously, it doesn't make any sense to use and use and use until there is nothing left, but on the other hand, humans are not enemies of the earth. We deserve to live here as much as any other creature.

So it is out of my rejection of milled environmentalist philosophy that I feel little guilt for buying fruit out-of-season, shipped from distant corners of the country. Usually, I buy fruit in season for two self-interested reasons: it is less expensive and tastes better. During my last two shopping trips, however, I found both blueberries and strawberries at reasonable prices, and to my surprise, they both tasted nearly as good as the in-season varieties. These aren't the kinds of purchases that I can make all of the time, namely for the two self-interested reasons listed above, but since I was able to do so this month, yay! As much as I love winter (I really do!), a little summer fruit in the middle of a mostly mild and dreary cold season is most welcome, sustainability be damned.

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