Organic watermelon radishes from Hairston Creek Farm

Saturday, May 29, 2010


During a work meeting last week, the subject of recycling came up. Some of the people present at the meeting often mock the subject of recycling and other subjects related to taking care of our planet (using organic methods, buying unprocessed foods, etc.) - they do not believe that it is that crucial to recycle, for example. I guess they think trash disappears when the trucks take it away. Or, maybe, they think landfills will never fill. Or, better yet, they believe trash really decomposes in the landfill and that landfills will become again some day places where we can build homes and schools and grow food. I guess if they are thinking only about their generation, it could be true that landfills will not fill. I, however, have to think of my children, and their children, and their children's children, and of how I would love to leave this planet for them in at least the same shape I found it when I got here. While we don't have solar panels on our roof, nor do we have a 100 gallon tank to collect rain water in our backyard (although I wish we did), we do pay attention to what we buy and try to recycle as much as we can so that we do our part. Not because it is easy (it isn't), nor because it is free (it isn't where we live), but because it is the right thing to do. Although I know that there are people out there making a much bigger, better impact on this planet than our family is, compared to the average American, you could say we are at least trying to do the right thing:
  • We buy mostly raw foods so we buy little packaging;
  • When we do buy packaged foods, we choose the product packaged in recyclable containers;
  • We recycle everything we can (aluminum, paper, plastics 1-7, and styrofoam), even if it means we have to drive it somewhere every couple of months;
  • When we have leftovers at restaurant, we ask for foil (better yet, we split meals so that we don't have leftovers);
  • We compost our food scraps as long as our compost bin is not full; and
  • We use organic methods only to grow plants and on our lawn
In any case, when one of my coworkers made fun of recycling, I felt like speaking up. I didn't because I know these people. They are bright and eloquent and I would never have the last word. This was also a work meeting and I knew that as soon as I tried to make my point, the subject would be thrown out. One of my other coworkers, however, did speak up. Before the subject was quickly thrown out (as I had suspected), someone else said something along the lines of how as humans, how we live, including everything we do, including our wasteful ways, is natural. In other words, we were created by nature, therefore, the consequences of our actions, are natural, so why worry so much about it. I did not say anything, but wanted to. Had I had the nerve, I would have said that yes, she is right. We are nature's creation and so what we do is "natural". As "natural" as a meteorite heading toward the Earth to possibly destroy all life as we know it. And I suspect that if a meteorite was heading our direction and our society had the tools to stop it (or at least delay impact), these people would be the first to push for our society to use the tools to stop it. So, why, if we know of things we can do to make this planet better, why shouldn't we? If we don't, I suspect nature WILL take its course and we will eat, shop, and waste ourselves right into extinction.

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