a suburban greenmom is kinda bummed out and thus writes a very unfocused post...
I'm sort of depressed this morning.
Part of it is a disappointment in my garden. I know I'm still comparatively new at this whole "doing it right" thing, but there's been an alarming divergence of success in my vegetation. The cucumbers are being a huge disappointment, though the zucchinis are finally giving me food, and so far I've only managed to harvest three tomatoes. One little bowl of sugar snap peas, from a row of maybe 30 plants in the ground. A few green beans that don't taste very good. Radishes out the yin yang. And of course weeds that put the veggies to shame. My nursery plants all seemed to sort of take hold and then go into a Star Trek like "stasis field" where they're just standing there not sure what to do. I know it's largely a result of undernourished soil (no matter how much I nourish it each year, the basic truth is that without building straight UP 20 inches or so, I'm dealing with soil that hasn't gotten much nourishment at all in the past 25 years, so I'll need to be patient and keep layering and layering and building a good base...I may have underestimated the need for fertilizer this year, though I thought we did pretty well...I'll whip up some stuff tonight and see if I can turn things around for the last half of the season), and a crazy-late growing season up north here, and that without that solid start all the summer sun combined with ample rain just isn't enough. But this is turning into a fairly expensive exercise in not-many-veggies.
Part of it is probably the whole budget-deal-debt-ceiling-armageddon-averted thing I'm now reading about. Last thing I want is to rant about politics on this blog, but long story short when all is said and done I feel sort of like, "okay, huge hype and mass panic and oh goody it's all going to be okay for now but really absolutely nothing has changed" about the whole thing. (And, for me, I think that would be true were I red or were I blue. Business as usual in Washington. Sigh.)
I know, these two realities aren't linked at all--gardening and government--and even I, Queen of the Unlikely Metaphor, don't really have the energy to pull it off right now. But I'm in one of those places where I start wondering what the point is, and whether any of the stuff I'm trying to do is making any difference at all. I don't have illusions that it will change anything on a grand scale, but heck, I can't even grow veggies in my own backyard--I should have just gotten a CSA membership, that would have probably cost less and maybe had a little more of a positive impact.
And the other "big news" I read the other day--McDonald's is now shrinking the fry size on their Happy Meal, and adding apples (without dipping sauce) as a default for every meal. Oh yeah, and now along with soda choices, you can also choose between 1% white milk and--get this--FAT FREE Chocolate milk. Because that 1% of fat reduced, of course, will make us forget about all the added sugar in the chocolate milk...(sorry, my cynical is showing.)
The big change. This is the latest big change in helping to make the world, and our children, a little healthier. Smaller fries, and a few apple slices wrapped in plastic.
Then I remember the Colin Beavan interview (the No Impact Man guy? remember him?) I read more than a year ago...this quote has stuck with me:
Trust your capacity to make change. Trust your capacity to make a difference. We often talk about the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but we never talk about the thousands of straws that are already there. What we have to remember is that the reason why a straw breaks the camel’s back is that there’s already thousands upon thousands of other straws already there and it’s that last straw that’s just one too much.
So every time one of us decides that we’re going to live differently, that we’re going to engage with our politicians differently, that we’re going to talk to our neighbors about our problems differently—we may not get to see the impact of what we’re doing but we have to trust that it’s working and that we’re another straw on the camel’s back. We may not have the privilege of being that last straw that breaks the camel’s back, but that last straw can’t do the trick without the rest of us already being there.
And then I look at the brighter side of the McDonald's Happy Meal changes...I mean, yes, they are doing this to make more money, and much more about "spin" and public image than some deep heartfelt desire to reduce childhood obesity. But think of it...McDonalds is changing the way it sells food to children based on public pressure. A very small step, yes. But it's a substantive one. Is WalMart following through on all those green initiatives out of warm fuzzy heart-goodness? No, they are doing it because they are perceiving that the public tide is changing, and they will sell more stuff and do better financially if they yield to that tide. Slowly the number of straws is shifting and putting pressure onto various companies and organizations to change the way they do things.
Today the Happy Meal...tomorrow the EPA?
Okay, maybe I'm a little less depressed now. We'll see.
--Jenn the Greenmom