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I received the following comment about this blog last night: “You’re deluding yourself, Sam, if you think your meager, largely symbolic adjustments, will make even a small difference to the POWERS of this world now driving us all toward catastrophe. You’re amusing yourself and your readers when there’s real work to be done.”
Dear Commenter: I respectfully disagree -except for the part about how the POWERS of this world are driving us all toward catastrophe. I think WE are the powers, and WE are powerful enough to make the changes needed. But as your comments refer to me personally, I’d like to address them.
When I see the home-grown foods on my plate, meal after meal after meal, and know that the soil my supper was raised in is teeming with vitality and nutrients from the compost that I added to it, that the seeds that were planted were saved from their mother plant, and that the food was raised without chemicals by the work of my own hands, I don’t consider that ‘symbolic’ at all, but self-reliant and enabling. Sure, it’s just me and Michael growing our own personal food here, but if those that read this blog can be inspired to grow a bit of their own food too, or adopt a plant-based diet, or purchase food from a local farmer, then we’re all creating a food democracy, as Dr. Shiva refers to it above. When I reduce, repair, recycle and reuse every single thing that comes through my life, I don’t call it symbolic, I call it conserving the earth’s resources-and the ‘F’ word: FRUGAL. But I also like to believe that by NOT generating the 4.4 pounds of waste a day that the EPA says we Americans create, that my efforts are responsible, not necessarily symbolic. When I make the decision to stay home, rather than to drive my car, it actually IS symbolic I guess, of my desire to reduce my dependence on oil, so I’ll give you that one.When I learn new skills (like grafting fruit trees or playing bass or creating this blog) and share them with my friends and family, I call that ‘creating community’, not symbolic. When we turn off our heat pump and instead fill the wood stove with the logs from downed trees that Michael has cut, hauled, split and stacked, we don’t consider that meager or symbolic, but energy-efficient. When I patronize local businesses, I’m pretty sure the owners of those businesses don’t consider my business symbolic either. I could go on and on, but I’m hopeful I’ve helped my readers understand that my meager efforts are indeed meager, but are the only way I know of to bring about the changes I want to see in this world. If an idea or a practice doesn’t have a HUGE impact, is it really only symbolic and not worthwhile?
From the ‘About Tennessee Transitions’ page of this blog: “If we collectively plan and act early enough, we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more fulfilling than the one we find ourselves in today. Now is the time for us to take stock and to start re-creating our future in ways that are not based on cheap, plentiful and polluting oil but on localized food, sustainable energy sources, resilient local economies and an enlivened sense of community well-being. This blog is my attempt to create that new way of living!”
Your comments and opinions are always welcome here, even if you don’t agree with mine 🙂 I don’t know what the ‘real work’ is that the comment referred to, but I’m sure willing to learn!
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