Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why I took back the socks

Summer breeds long talks. Talks while driving. Talks while hiking. Talks while just sitting on a beach watching sprouts swim and splash.

This summer bred more dreams and visions then ever before. Dreams to be completely debt free in 5 to 7 years (all we have left to go is our mortgage).

As well, dreams to continue to make choices that are sustainable for our land, our bodies, our communities. For us, that drew us to discussions on localized economies.

How much fuel is it taking to get that banana or carrot to my store shelf? And how much ridiculous amount of petroleum was used up to get 6 measly socks to our local Wal-Mart? How does buying these socks support our local economy and keep my neighbors working? Can I keep supporting this?

I can't be and won't be a purist but we will try to do better.

I bought socks (not at Wal-Mart) but still ended up getting "Made in China" socks. However, I made a choice to eat last nights dinner from 100% local food, that was organic.

If every U.S. Citizen ate just one meal a week *any meal* that was composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels EVERY week. (not gallons!! BARRELS!!) Small changes in buying habits, can make a difference.

Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars. 400 gallons of oil a year per citizen (17% of our nation's energy use) is for agriculture. It includes tractors, combines, harvesters, irrigation, sprayers, tillers, balers, and other petroleum guzzling equipment. But the biggest gas guzzlers from the farm are from the inputs: synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides all use oil and natural gas as their starting materials and in their manufacturing. Switching to organic means you are eating produce that does not utilize high petroleum and oil based poisons on your food. Seems like a win -win to me (earth and your body are happier for the change!).

The trip from the farm to your plate is what takes up four-fifths of the total oil used for our food. Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles.

So we compromised. We bought the China socks (for now it's all we could find) but ate veggies grown in a farm owned by our friend with riccotta cheese I made from Raw Goat Milk I get in my own town.

The best quote I read this summer:
How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how
the world is used."

Resources used for this post
David Pimentel, Marcia Pimentel, and Marianne Karpenstein-Machan, "Energy Use in Agriculture:An Overview"
Richard Manning, "The Oil We Eat, " Harper's Magazine, February 2004
U.S. Energy Information Administration: www.eia.doe.gov/
Barbara Kingsolver, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", 2007, p.5.


Randell said...

You speak my mind!!! You speak what I am speaking here in ND!!!
We are reformers and reform and change are coming!!!
Keep preaching girlfriend!!!

Mrs. T said...

I love your plan to be debt free, and how exciting that only your mortgage is left--way to go!