This week’s discussions and readings (particularly Brown’s Plan B) really got me thinking about what we can do as individuals to manifest the changes we wish to see. Lester Brown laid out a very thorough list of ideas and potential actions the world can take, including the cost of such actions. The further I move into my degree, the more passionate I feel about seeing to it that we make this planet habitable and harmonious for future generations. Many discussions have been had about what we need to do as a global community- “big picture” kind of stuff. But any kind of large systematic change begins with individual effort, and that is what I would like to discuss today. I don’t want to come off preachy, and seem like I’m telling people what to do, so the way I’d like to approach this topic is to discuss some changes I’ve made since starting this class, and how those changes have impacted my life.
I’ve taken several considerations about my lifestyle, and have taken inventory on everything from the amount of water I use to how I can cut down on the amount of driving I do. Rather than cover a broad spectrum of changes I’ve been trying to make, I’ll just focus on my first major alteration to my lifestyle: My kitchen! In my household, there has been a dramatic increase in concern for where our food comes from. Coincidently, around the same time I started this class, my fiancé ended up in the hospital with ulcers in his stomach. His new health issues obviously required a dramatic shift in our diet, so I started doing quite a bit of research. I started combining information about his specific health problem with what I had been learning in our Global Issues class, and realized that one of our first steps was to become “locavores.”
Ever wonder why you (essentially) see the same stock of fruits and veggies year-round in some grocery stores? It’s because they’re shipped in from all over the world and often times grown in with methods that defy nature’s natural rhythm. In our lifetimes, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have come in to play in order to supply an ever growing demand for food, and compete with other industries. Personally, I don’t like the idea of being a guinea pig food for industries. I’d much rather shake the hand of the person who (sustainably) grew my tomato than take a gamble on eating the products money-driven scientists are trying to feed me. Plus, there’s simply no comparison in quality! I’ve spent the past few summers working in a greenhouse and have gotten to enjoy a vast variety of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the vine, grown during their proper seasons. I’m sure that anyone who has ever been to a farmer’s market or gone apple picking in the fall will agree, nothing beats fresh and local!
I’ve never been a huge meat eater (not a vegetarian, just not a fan of most meat), and with my fiance’s health problems, his days of growing up on a cattle farm eating all the meat he wanted are long gone. That doesn’t mean that we never eat meat, but when we do, we take a lot more time to find out where it came from. Instead of purchasing our meat from places like Giant, Walmart, or Food Lion, I’ve been taking trips to the Old Town Butcher. After speaking with the manager about where they get their products and the quality of life the animals have (free range versus cages, grazing cattle versus corn fed, etc.), I’ve decided that they seem pretty legit as far as trying to build a business around sustainability sourced products. As far as price goes, I will say that some of their red meat is a little expensive, but I’ve found their chicken and pork to actually be cheaper than most chain-store AND much tastier! Not to mention, the quality of meat is absolutely amazing when compared to major grocery stores! It’s amazing what a difference it makes when animals aren’t pumped full of hormones and spend their lives in small, unsanitary areas. Plus, eating local also reduces environmental impact by cutting down on emissions from imports
These are just some of the changes I have made in my own life recently. I hope this class inspires everyone else the way it has inspired me! Small actions x Many people = Big Change!