Friday, May 14, 2010

Are we green, crunchy, or just a bunch of snobs?

Every once in awhile I have to make my obligatory post about my disdain toward the whole direction the green movement has taken. Like a lot of people I was thrilled when so many years ago eating healthier and being environmentally friendly starting getting more media attention. I mean, I remember when people thought I was weird for drinking smoothies and nobody knew what organic was. Now it is everywhere and I'm glad but I'm seeing a twisted sort of perversion of the movement that I don't like to be associated with and is counterproductive to its general cause. I guess that would be snobbery. It seems to be under the guise of being green or crunchy so to speak. For those not in the know crunchy seems to have come from associating hippies with eating granola which is funny because crunchy has become so much more sophisticated than eating granola, lol. It seems that if you aren't eating raw and spending $15 for a bag of goji berries you just aren't crunchy enough. You see where I'm going with this.

I feel like a lot of virtues have been hijacked. After all, the real being green is simply having less. When I was laid up with my foot injury Riki bought me a popular fashion magazine. As I flipped through it I couldn't believe how many products were labeled as "green" on nearly every page. "Buy this $500 reclaimed wooden necklace." Buy this $300 face cream made from rare botanicals." Is this what we've become? I'm actually starting to understand why we are such a target of the right wing movement jokes and labeled as snobs.

And now in the blogosphere I see a lot of proselytizing about it. At first I couldn't figure it out. I thought why in the heck do certain blogs make me feel all ick when these people have the same interests I do? Then I realized what it was. It was the gloating. The lists of "all the ways we are green", the posts of why homeschooling/unschooling is superior with a bunch of links and statistics to why, the holier than thou raw diets, fitness gurus, etc. I'm not saying that any of these things are inherently wrong and I agree with many of the posts. I just don't know how much we are achieving by wagging our finger at others or getting caught up in the consumerist side of things. A lot of people in the world can only dream of having the money to buy half the things we do.

Fact of the matter is that you can't package and sell reducing your standard of living or downsizing. You don't see glossy ads telling you that instead of buying brand new energy star rated appliances that maybe you could do without some of them or try a non electric version that isn't sold by a huge corporation. So we all run around eating our expensive healthy food and buying our $300 silk fair trade duvet covers while wondering why everybody else thinks we are a bunch of snobs.

Food is dicey. I put it into my body and well, I have to eat it to survive so I will admit to spending more than most families do on organic food, sans goji berries, lol. Having said that I don't buy into lots of trendy or ethnic diets. We eat mostly traditional foods, just with whole organic ingredients as much as possible. I don't think our ancestors had to worry about stuff like so many pesticides and GMO crops but these days we a package of white flour just isn't as good as whole wheat....but see, I'm proselytizing now, haha!

Nothing has hit home so much though as being on a limited income on the road. As much as I hate it I can't always afford healthy food. It was astonishing to me yesterday that we spent $15 at Subway for four  healthy kids meals and that we got a greasy pizza for $5 at the Flying J's. What are you gonna do? Sometimes you can't cook meals from scratch or you are low on groceries and waiting for that next check to come in. Sometimes I drink expensive Sierra Nevada beer and sometimes I drink PBR or Bud Light. I like to follow it up the next day with Emergen C or some Kombucha and how hypocritical is that? It gives us all a little humanity to talk about our weaknesses every once in awhile.

I guess where I'm getting at with all of this is that I think us green or crunchy or however we want to label ourselves folks would get more respect if we would keep it real. I'm human and I like to think I adopt a lot of "green" practices in my own mind but I'm not embarrassed to say that I ate some greasy pizza or that sometimes all you can get is 49 cent hamburger day at McDonald's.

Maybe on blogs we could all talk a little more about being human and our struggles instead of always bragging about yoga classes, our organic handmade clothing, how superior we are because we homeschool/unschool and drink fair trade coffee instead of Starbucks. And when it gets right down to it, paying money on any of those things does not make us crunchy. I think the Amish with their austerity and simplicity have something over on all of us...and they probably don't even believe in global warming, lol. Yet they along with authentic homesteaders past and present (no, I'm not talking about celebrities who grace the covers of Mother Earth News) are the true green pioneers making a difference and living by values of authenticity. In the end I think the rest of us can only aspire to be that great in our endeavors....because we all know that simply using CFLs, buying hybrid cars, and outfitting large homes with expensive solar is not the change which is really going to change the direction our planet is in right now.

So seriously, let's all keep it a little more real with fewer statistics of why this or that practice is so much superior to another and remember that none of us are any better than anybody else. We are all spiritual beings traveling in a human body with struggles and on different stages of the path. I don't think my drinking one more bottle of Kombucha (no matter how darn good it tastes and how good I think it is for me) is getting me any closer to enlightenment.


Kara said...

Well said! We are all on different paths ... and not taking anything to one extreme seems the healthiest (not to mention most realistic)

There is a lot of "green washing" going on, and that isn't an accident. "Green" sells right now and the big companies know it. It is too bad that it is starting to feel more and more, like you said, as an exclusive (and elusive!) club instead of all shades of "green" being welcome.

I sincerely hope that when I put a list on my blog or talk about something we do, that I'm not coming across as taking myself too seriously or that I see myself as "better" than anyone else. I guess that is why I share my dust bunnies, too. :-)

Here's to organic healthy food AND to that greasy $5 pizza!

Tammy said...

SOOOOOOOOO well put! Thank you for sharing this with us. :)

Jenna Gayle said...

Very, very well said!

B said...

I loved this post. A while back I posted on my blog that I was crunchy when crunchy wasn't cool (changing up lyrics to an old Barbara Mandrell song). Now, I don't seem so crunchy in the shadow of what has become the green movement.

Now that I'm a Mama, our family does the best we can to be "green", but I'm the first to admit that we fall prey to the almighty drive-thru. We, like a lot of families, live paycheck to paycheck and it isn't always feasible for us to shop at Whole Foods for all our groceries.

I buy our clothes secondhand, we garden, can, freeze, and on and on.
Another thing I struggle with is the fact that our family hunts. We don't hunt for sport, we hunt for the harvest. We are not vegetarians - so I hope i don't offend any readers (or you, because I love your blog), but the game we bring home, we know for a fact is organic and free-range. Deer are about as free-range as it gets. Two or three deer will last our family an entire year AND we can share with our friends.

I do not condone hunting for the pure pleasure and sport of killing an animal.

Thanks for helping me be even more comfortable with where my family is in this madness of the "green frenzy".

Peace Love & Shades of Green

Andrea said...

I think there isn't a topic that doesn't at some point have a fanatic fringe either for or against. Green is a current fad subject to those fringe ideas too. I'm 66, eat raw and am going to be fulltiming in an RV next year. (Got to get the RV first). I've seen so many extremes in the human condition and it's hard to take sometimes. Anyway, I appreciate the conversation and that all views get heard even if I don't like a lot of them. :)
Andrea E.

Little House On Wheels said...

Thanks for all the heartening comments. I'm glad that others can relate. Sometimes I feel like we've got to say what can sometimes be the white elephant in the room.

Will said...

Great post. I would wonder why one as articulate as yourself would fall prey to social engineers on other blogs?

Really, who cares what the latest movement is. Just live life your way, rather than the way the rest of us chumps think you should.

Keep the rubber side down!

Mouse said...

Great Post! My family and I live on one very small income from my husband's freelance/odd job work. We couldn't afford to shop at Whole Foods even if there was one within 50 miles of us. I make do with what we've got and buy the best ingredients I can afford to feed my family from scratch. I shop at thrift stores for everything from clothing to books and I try to support Etsy crafters for things like soaps & lip balms.
I love to read Yoga Journal and various Buddhist magazines (thankfully I have access to second hand copies of these!!) but they are FILLED with extremely expensive clothing & housewares marketed toward people who want to 'live simply'. I saw an advert once for a diamond encrusted 24k gold 'Om' symbol necklace once! What an interesting marketing campaign that you can somehow BUY your way to simplicity, enlightenment, and a greener planet! *face/palm*

Ima said...

HO-LY SHIT! Pardon me but I'm blooooooown away... you are my new FAVORITE person! You stole these words words right out of my mouth and my face right off my head ;-)Kudos!!! Well said. FULL of good truth. Thank you one hundred times for your willingness to share this so kyndly but without fear and judgment. I hope many eyes fall upon your words of wisdom and common sense and that it's recieved as positively as it came accross to me.

~Peace Family~

Ima said...

Oh... and I wanted to add that we are "The Crunchy Bunch" LOL! We are certainly faaaaaar from fitting in with that whole competitive world of green and crunchy thing. I think the word "crunchy" is hilarious. What exactly *does* that imply? Well, I figured our blog might add a bit of color to the broad discription of what that word might mean. I smiled and chuckled the first time someone brought the word "crunchy" to my attention - I've been using it in jest ever since... I even started a playgroup 8 yrs ago with a similar title, on purpose. It attracted everything from crunch to sog. Enlightening!

And the most hilarious product of the crunch obsession = The Crunch Test for mamas! Measure your level of crunch on the crunch-o-meter LOL! I took it... couldn't help myself. Took it while I threw down a greasy ass piece of pizza and a PBR. Green smoothie in the morning ;-) LOL

Sorry... this got me going! Love it.

Little House On Wheels said...

Thanks Ima! I'm embarrassed to say I never checked out your blog before but I finally did and added you to my list. You have an adorable family!

Little House On Wheels said...

Too funny! I didn't even know what the term crunchy was until I went on the mothering community after I had Ellery. I thought it was cool but yeah, then I saw all the lists of how green people were because they bought a $1000 front loader.

Where is this crunch o meter anyway, lol?

Cami said...

Great post. Shine the light on our shadows so we don't all feel so alone or ashamed!!
This is especially something that young mothers come up against, feeling alone, measuring up, doubting your instincts against the prevailing opinion, compromising for normalcy (yes, my kids definitely know what a happy meal is and we have some McD toys floating around in here, and they also know that the meat in one comes from many different cows and have seen the horrifying factory farms - we straddle it all).
One thing about the Amish - we had many Amish neighbors in Montana, and every Amish community is different so this may not apply to others elsewhere. The people we knew were wonderful, and we were happy to buy milk from them and learn what we could. BUT we were absolutely shocked to see the level of nutrition and packaged food in the community. EVERYTHING comes from a box. My kids frequently were babysat by an excellent Amish family, but I always felt I needed to feed them really well before they left, because they would be eating CRAP from a box when they were there. I really think the lifestyle is so labor-intensive, that Amish women have to cut corners there they can, and boxed refined foods have become an acceptable part of the community especially given the Amish General Stores that have popped up all over. Yes, they canned applesauce, ground by hand, and hunted and packaged venison for the winter, but everything that could come from a box, did. The first pink cupcakes and Twinkies and sugar cereals my kids ever had were with an Amish family. And they sprayed poison on EVERYTHING as part of executing God's dominion over the earth: right there next to their little barefoot kids they'd be spraying a backpack of herbicides. They were so disappointed in our dandelion patch of a yard, and thought we were pretty lazy to accept and eat them and make medicine from them. We were not performing our God-given role of mastering the earth if we were allowing 'weeds' (which we see as medicinal/nutritional gold). Amish buggies lined up for pharmaceutical help at the doctor office near us, just as regularly as the town's cars did. A few women, the midwife in particular, were aware of alternative techniques and showed some interest in learning more (body work, herbal remedies) but overall it's a fairly busy community who had no time to bother to learn 'greener', more effective and simpler, ways of doing things, even though they were worried that Pharma and Surgery weren't working for their functional illnesses. On the other hand, they do have a knack for manifesting abundance, and I suppose it's called hard shared work.
So I guess the point is, we're all dappled in shadow and light, in lofty goals and furtive shortcuts. Might as well glory in it and laugh about it. We've all got our addictions and compromises.
Now I'm off to indulge one of mine.

Ima said...

No worries!!!! LOL I actually can't figure out how to post with my blog's name. I'm not very tech savvy.

Yep, MDC... that was the source of crunchiness where I met the mama who said it to me.

Here's a link to the fun little crunch quiz LOL There are a ton all over the internet, but the questions and scores are all the same. I'm apparently "Crunchier than grapenuts". HA!! Cute, you should totally take it.

Ima said...

Whoops... here's the link