Monday, October 29, 2007
In need of defense
Some very interesting comments came out of my Wednesday post on how the world is a-changing, and how some of us are doing something about it, and others, well, aren't.
Here's a comment: My friend Tim, in an email, said "The list of things not to be discussed in polite company (this includes the internet) now includes 'consumption patterns'."
I agree it's a touchy subject, especially when one trains one's sights on one's relatives as examples. (OUCH. Believe me, things've cooled considerably in my own household after that post; I've done a lot of mea maxima culpas to those affected.) But, (and Tim knows this about me) BUT...polite company aside, isn't discussing religion, politics and now consumption patterns at least really INTERESTING? Maybe it started in college, where I was one of maybe 6 Democrats in a student body of 7,000...maybe that is where I honed my combative skills. (It was the Reagan era: tough time to be a liberal, believe me.) But maybe it's a personality fault, or something, but I do like a good argument; I do like to poke the hornet's nest, to rattle a cage here and there.
Why consumption? Here is the thing: here is why: we are all connected. That Big Mac you had for lunch? It has global implications. It really does. And how good did you feel after eating it? Did you feel as good as you did when you ate your last homegrown tomato?
Big Macs are not the Great Evil, nor is a homegrown tomato a kind of Grail (though close, if it's a Brandywine). But it's a small, small, shrinkingly small world out there. By 2050 there'll be 9 billion of us calling this little planet home. You don't need to be an economist, geophysicist or even a farmer to realize that having India and China on a Big Mac diet too is just not going to happen. Our world is too small for this kind of consumption pattern. And we have to face this fact. Collectively. Together.
Our leaders are not leading on this issue, much less any other. Detroit continues to roll out vehicles that get only 18 mpg. We keep doing things as if there were no Katrina, no fires, no drought; that these were fickle aberrations of the weather. So, well, I will be discussing consumption patterns (and politics, but will stay away from the third rail that is religion) here. Why? Because enough of you have told me you do take a little something away from my rants: encouragement, head-shaking disagreement, something. And because someone needs to stand up for homegrown tomatoes!