mermaiden: (Ritual)
posted by [personal profile] mermaiden at 03:55pm on 27/10/2012 under , ,
I was listening to NPR (WHEN IS SARAH NOT LISTENING TO NPR? [Answer to this question: NEVER]) this afternoon, on the way back from a last minute run to the store for camera batteries for tonight's annual Halloween costume party at Maddie's mum's (the party is LEGENDARY. I am SO EXCITED. Just WAIT until you see our COSTUMES. *vibrating with joy* XD).

Marketplace was interviewing Pierre Desrochers, author of The Loccavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-mile Diet, which--basically and heavily summarized--is about why being a locavore is a bad idea. (A "Locavore" is someone who buys food from local producers, farmers, etc., not food that supermarkets have had to ship from roughly eleventy billion miles away. The argument for being a locavore is that this is a much more sustainable practice, better for the world, better for the local food growers/creators.)

Mr. Desrochers's argument was one that I found kind of ridiculous. He stated that if we all stopped buying food from the supermarkets and relied solely on local food, there would be famine, because local crops always eventually fail. He stated that if we don't buy food from supermarkets, the global economy would fail. He stated that if we don't buy food from supermarkets CIVILIZATION WOULD COLLAPSE AS WE KNOW IT.

Yes, if everyone relied on local food only, crops fail. But not everyone relies on local food. Actually, very few people rely on local food. Compared to the number of people in the world, locavores make up a teeny, tiny portion, and that might evolve--over time--to be a larger portion, but it's never going to be everyone. Not everyone has the same values or priorities. And that's never going to change.

People are essentially different, and what they choose to do is never going to be the same across the board. I can't believe I even typed that sentence.

I think the reason the interview frustrated me is that there's a naysayer for everything. EVERYTHING. Oh, you want to pick trash up on the side of the road? You're putting people out of work. Want to go help at that animal shelter? You should be volunteering at a soup kitchen. Want to go vegan? You know that creating fake meat costs more in fuels for the environment than if you just slaughtered a cow, right? Handing a homeless guy a dollar bill? You know he's just going to use that to get booze, right?

I can't believe that someone would waste their precious time on this earth, and their resources, to hold a gigantic megaphone to someone who's actually trying to do something to make the world the tiniest bit better and yell, loudly and clearly, UR DOIN' IT WRONG. But people do. Every day. (By the way, there's a huge difference between sharing actual facts and helping educate people about situations and being a scare tactic monger. HUGE. DIFFERENCE. The former is appropriate and needed in this world. The latter is what happens much more often than the former, sadly.)

There are, essentially, two types of people in this world. The people who point at others and say "they're doing shit, they're not doing enough, they're doing it wrong," and the people who are actually doing something, in the best way they know possible, to try and make things better. There's very little cross over between the two, though there's definitely some.

No one is perfect. The people who see the system as broken, who are trying to do the best they can, in the ways that make them feel impassioned, are trying. Sometimes, they do it wrong, or they're not fully informed, but most of the time, a good deed, done with a hell of a lot of intention and research, is actually a good deed. If someone wants to go vegan because they feel that they must, that's their prerogative, and no amount of negative "you shouldn't do this" is going to sway them. If someone wants to work at an animal shelter because they really love animals, yelling at them all day long, everyday, about how they're communist bastards who should care more about their fellow human beings than "dumb animals" is not going to sway them. If someone decides that they want to become a locavore because they see how much their local farmers struggle, and they want to give back to their community, crying about some hypothetical famine is not going to stop them.

So just...stop.

But people aren't going to stop naysaying. They're not. It's in human nature.

But the other really awesome thing about human nature? When you're really impassioned about something, when you care about it with your whole heart, some guy with a megaphone and negative opinions isn't going to sway you in the slightest.

I'm not a locavore, though I try to buy local as often as I can. But I'm an activist in several different places, and I've seen it enough times, that if I had a nickel for each, I'd have a really swollen piggy bank. I'm surrounded by activists and impassioned people who chuckle and shake their heads when someone tells them "you know that's not going to make a bit of difference, and is--in fact--stupid, right?" I'm humbled and awed by the way that my friends and family and Unitarian family and queer family and every family responds to that, and I do my best in my life to reflect the same:

"Thanks for your concern. But we're not going to stop coming out/being vegan/writing gay stories/helping gay kids/protecting animals/singing/volunteering/doing anyway."

And the people go back to their megaphones. And the people go back to their doing something.

(photo by galactichero
Mood:: 'mellow' mellow


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