First: Understand Where the Harm Originates…

None of us live in a bottle isolated from the rest of the planet. Our ecosystem supports all life from the Pacific Northwest to South America to Asia to Europe and the Steppes of Mongolia. We are all connected and we all bear the responsibility and the consequences of believing that we are separate.

We’re Safe Here?

pic-big-green-grapes-smallLast year my valley was determined to be self-sufficient and sustainable. We all breathed a sigh of relief. We’re safe here, regardless of how insane the rest of the world may seem. But, is that really true? I don’t think so.

When I satisfy my desire for those luscious, round green grapes I must realize that they came from a large corporation in Chili. The condition of the earth they were grown in or the pesticides sprayed on them, remains a mystery to me.

But, that’s only a little piece of the picture. Those lovely grapes had to be transported here from the other side of the world. That means, not only the use of the fuel to transport them here, but also the power necessary to keep them cooled and unspoiled when they arrive on my table. I admit that there was a beautiful bowl of those grapes on my Welcome to Spring table. And, yes, they were labeled as coming from Chili.

Making More Balanced Choices

The vast majority of what I consume comes from my little valley. And, in the summer and fall months, I have the luxury of harvesting my own vegetables and sharing the abundance of our orchards. Still, I really wanted those green grapes from Chili and I enjoyed every one.

pic-farmers-market-smallWe are now globally connected to the vast array of not only products but service. There is very little that I cannot purchase from Amazon.com and have delivered to my PO box a few miles down the road. It’s tempting, for sure, but how much of it do we really need? How many of our purchases actually contribute to the producers of the products we buy, and how many of those purchased products do harm to not only the planet, but also our bodies.

Amazon.com does a really good job of packaging and uses recycled cardboard. Many companies are now replacing plastic with recycled waste products, making them much less damaging.
Often our take out containers are now made from recycled products.

We have the option of being informed and aware consumers. Or, we can simply ignore the information available to us and continue to use, mindlessly. It is not an easy task to be informed in the midst of such connectivity and complexity. But, I remember when having recycle bins about seemed highly righteous and was more associated with granola fed hippies than responsibility.

A New Way of Life

Today, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t recycle. Our local markets have recycle bins outside their establishments. Most all waste transfer stations have recycle facilities, which are generally crowded with folks who are being aware and responsible. As we became informed, recycling simply became a way of life.

New Types of Fuel Yes. It is true that I bought those grapes. I purchase those products less and less as I come to understand the true cost. Still, it seems that if we go too far overboard, we often feel the need to throw our hands up in despair and toss the baby out with the bath water. It seems to be a question of balance

I believe we must inform ourselves as much as possible, whether the issue is the delivery of power to our homes, the fuels we use for transportation or the grapes on our tables. Then we must each act as our conscious dictates.

First be informed and then do no harm, or as little as possible.

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