Sunday's Seattle Times has a delightful article titled, Saving the Planet, One Block, One Small Project At a Time.It tells the story of people experimenting with micro-environmentalism, sailing vegetables to market from Sequim instead of burning fossil fuels in a truck, matching up land owners and gardeners in Queen Anne ( urbangardenshare.org), mobilizing bike riders to deliver veggies, and more.
Here's the money quote:
The challenge... is to fundamentally change attitudes toward economics, consumption and the environment before the world bumps up against the limits of oil and other natural resources.
There's also a hunger for community, says Tuttle. "People desperately want local meaning and local solutions to problems, and that translates to local food, local transportation, more reliance on your neighbors."...
The article concludes with these wise words.
"These things are concrete and hopeful," says Pelish, of Wallingford, "and that is what makes them powerful."
This article reminds me of an encounter I had at the P.E.A.C.H. farm in the Valley. I stopped by to get some plant starts at permaculture experiment. They have groups of volunteers that come and participate, mostly young adults. On my way out to the car with my flat of plants, a young woman volunteer who had been weeding in the hot sun, stood up, looked at my arms full of junior veggies, thrust her fist in the air and with the zeal of a revolutionary cried out, "Plant Food! Yeaah!" I went from just wanting to grow some tamatillos to being part of conspiracy to subvert the empire in one fell swoop. If I weren't a Presbyterian I probably would have yelled back with my own fist pump.
What is it about planting food that is capturing the imagination of a whole generation of young people? What is it about simple acts of conservation that are energizing communities?
These actions are concrete and hopeful. They take complex world risking issues and place them in the small space of our lives. You might argue, "What difference is a vegetable garden going to make in the whole scope of things?" "Who cares if some dude sails his vegetables to market when a fleet of thousands of trucks are hard at work?" It may not stand up against the global math of carbon emissions but it does transform our imaginations. We are not powerless after all, we can learn new rhythms of consumption in our small corner of the community. And when we figure that out we discover that our neighborhoods can work together and coordinate and before you know it a whole city is tranformed. That's the story of what's going on in Seattle. How about Spokane? How about your neighborhood?
(Purple Coneflowers from our garden just for the fun of it.)