Michael’s Note: This piece was originally written two years ago after watching a debate between then Senator Obama and Senator McCain in which sustainability issues were discussed. When I came across it again over the weekend I felt that it holds just as much relevance today as it did then. I hope you agree that it bears repeating.
Perhaps it was the show I saw on The Weather Channel on Saturday that talked about the new sustainability curriculums that are sprouting up at colleges and universities that put the thought into my head, but regardless I decided that it was time I committed a few of my own ideas into word form. It really got me thinking about my own beliefs about sustainability.
I believe that from the earliest times of man we have had a responsibility to care for and maintain the earth that sustains us and to provide for ourselves and our families as well as those around us who are unable to provide for themselves. One of my biggest concerns about modern society is that we have lost touch with the earth in the most basic of ways. We no longer grow our own food, instead preferring the speed of store bought and often flavorless convenience foods. It isn’t only our wallets that suffer because of this, but our heath and well being.
I believe that if every person took the time to grow just one plant that produced something they ate, we as a society would learn to become more focused and centered. We would become less dependent on large scale growers who produce inferior quality produce and we would become more healthy. It starts at home and in my experience, people who taste home grown vegetables and fruit almost always immediately recognize the difference in flavor, color and texture even before they understand the difference in cost.
I believe that in order to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels including both foreign and domestic oil, we need to reeducate ourselves, forget a lot of what we have learned over the past few decades and return to the time-proven practices of past generations who cultivated the earth and grew their own crops because there was no other option. Their gardens fed their families, not the local fast food drive through window and the frozen food aisle. Eggs came from poultry raised at home and not kept in confining cages while being fed growth-encouraging hormones. Milk came from cows who stood in open fields chewing their cud all day that were all too happy to visit the barn and trade some of their milk for a trough full of feed.
I believe that consuming less – whether it be commercially produced food, gasoline, plastics or anything else – is the true beginning to a green revolution and that one day people will come to realize that sustainable living is not just a buzz word but something that begins at home.