To Sustain or Flourish: A look at what we are trying to accomplish
There are some terms that annoy me. But I use them anyway. Words like “green” and “ecologically-friendly” are peevish but I use them because we all know the point. We can speak the same language, even if my world is more colorful than a static monochromatic bias. We know what we mean, even in light of the personification of a “grumpy” science that may-or-may not like you (so be ecologically-friendly, will you?).
But terms are just terms. After all, isn’t the goal to work together to create something….sustainable?
We believe that since much of our current food supply is simply unsustainable, we will need to return to more natural food and processes or we will see an increase in world hunger rates and desertification. We also believe that those natural foods and traditional food processing will have the happy consequence of being healthier, contributing to lowering cancer and diabetes rates.
Our friend Paul Wheaton from Permies.com says this about the word “sustainable” –he hates it. Overused. He said that the definition of the word sustainable is “ barely not dead”.
Little known fact: that video was shot when Paul was explaining his logic to Wilson & myself, & the guy really laughed like that. A lot.
Paul won us over to his way of thinking with this analogy…you have a hole in your boat. You are bailing water as fast as you can bail with your hands; that is sustainable. It does not move the boat, you are indeed sustaining it.
I must start the conversation there; when we refer to the sustainability of our food sources, we are not talking about offsetting carbon emissions by the corporate indulgence made payable to big government. We are not talking about face painting on Earth Day or wearing your “save the whales” t-shirt. In those well-meaning (but often useless feel-good) ventures, the word “sustainable” has a value of zero. Not bad, not helpful. Just there.
Brian Dunning from Skeptoid said this about the word “sustainable” in a podcast:
Calling your product sustainable is not really saying anything about your product; it’s clanging the warning bell about the alternative being unsustainable: The world is ending! It’s like calling your product “hate free” or “cruelty free”. In no way is it descriptive of your product, it’s simply an underhanded way to insult your competition.
For the record, I didn’t agree with everything in that podcast. But is using the word “sustainable” an underhanded attack on others?
What does sustainability mean? The real definition of the word is basically to maintain, hold up, support, and endure.
We believe that victory gardens, community gardens, home preservation, and eliminating dependence upon the Three-Day-Just-In-Time Corporate Food System is sustainable, but not just sustainable. Producing, Preserving, and Preparing your own food –it is justifiable, maintainable, perpetual, inspirational, sufficient, efficient, sensible, rational, and survivable. It is prolific, productive and—well—smart!
We want to go beyond sustainable. It is time nourish and invest in local communities and landscapes. It is time to grow and preserve healthy food and healthy seed for future generations. It is time that we stop treating the harmful modern agricultural practices like they are a necessary evil and like they are “traditional agriculture” when they are really the untested experiment. “Traditional” goes way past Monsanto and Cargill. Modern scientific discovery coupled with the annals of history teach us what is truly “sustainable” and we can achieve it by voting with our own wallets, gardens, and pantry shelves. We want to learn from others, we want to invest in our future, and we want to be healthy again.
We want to go beyond sustainable.We want to create green spaces in deserts.
This is what I propose: let’s all come up with some ways to leave the world better than we find it, to improve upon something even this very day.
Tell us below in the comments: what does the word “sustainable” mean when you hear it? And tell us something you did today to…flourish!
Join us Wednesday for the next blog– about something UN-sustainable that you eat, wear, spray, and smear every single day…Palm Oil!
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.