Dreams of a Better World

My dreams at night come to me like waves in the ocean, one after the other. They start out big and end up small. They leave me with a feeling of nostalgia and I end up feeling like I’ve been to that place before. In my dream last night I dreamed of writing a blog here. It was about my dreams for the environment, if you can imagine that. My subconscious was trying to tell me something: dream big, and end with something small and tangible; something anyone can act on. As is the popular green saying goes: think globally, act locally.

If we are to consider the health of the entire planet we must start at the community level. This may be confusing, because of the news about climate change happening globally. However, if each community becomes more self-sustaining and less dependent on fossil fuels the whole world will benefit as a result–especially the world’s climate.

I happen to be from the wonderful and beautiful Golden State, California. In every city I’ve lived in within this state, be it Berkeley or Davis, farmers markets prosper. There’s a reason behind this. It isn’t just because California is home to the World’s most eco-conscious hippies, but in fact it’s partly due to California finding itself crippled by the oil crisis of the 1970s. This event led to the corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE) requiring automakers to improve fuel economy. Because of this, the automakers produced much more fuel efficient cars. Since California has had some of the worst air-quality and highest oil prices in the nation, many Californians are conscious of the environmental impact major industrial agriculture organizations place on the land. (California Leads the Green Movement)

California isn’t the only state that’s fond of the think global act local movement. The popularity of Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” has inspired people across the nation, and across the globe, to eat food that hasn’t been processed and is grown in a local farm. In an article Michael Pollan wrote in Mother Jones, titled, “No Bar Code,” Beyond Organic is gaining new ground within the U.S. While writing the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan decided to visit Joel Salatin’s farm after Joel refused to fed-ex him some of his fine broiler meat. According to Joel, it’s not ‘beyond organic’ if you use fuel to deliver it. There’s a face to face relationship that has been missing from food producer to consumer that Joel wants us to become a part of once again. This is called, “relationship marketing,” the approach he urges in his recent book, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food. Integrity is important to Joel, and the only meaningful guarantee of integrity is when buyers and sellers can look one another in the eye. Joel finds it odd that people put more work into finding a decent contractor than finding someone decent to produce and harvest their food. (No Bar Code – Michael Pollan)

Californians can do their part to put the global movement into a local perspective. By buying local and thinking global, we can help put an end to dirty fuel and get back the face to face relationships we have lost since the industrial revolution began. Our climate will thank us, and so will our health. Cheap food, according to Michael Pollan, is a myth. We pay for it in our medical bills and with the environment. High cholesterol, sodium, and high sugar content in processed foods leads to heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. So start with your community, your neighbors, and by all means your health first. The world will follow–I guarantee it. (The High Price of Cheap Food)

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The Green Movement

The current Green Movement has been making waves across California, and all over the world. More and more of what was once a niche market of entrepreneurs is suddenly becoming something the mainstream media and business world is becoming a part of. While there are many cynics out there who believe that pro-environment means less freedom for the market, I think that many are realizing pro-environment helps small and big businesses sustain themselves and saves them costs in the long run.

The current oil crisis has made many of us realize that our dependence on fossil fuels must give way to renewables–or we will not only wipe out the world’s ecosystems but deprive our future generations from enjoying beautiful wetlands and access to fresh water. Out of this crisis people can do some good for each other by lessening their dependence on fossil fuels. By carpooling, taking public transportation, and investing in smartstrips for the home and office, we can help our environment and save more money in the long run! (See www.vampirepowersucks.com to see how to stop energy vampires from sucking the money out of your wallet!) When there are so many struggling to make ends meet–conserving money while helping the environment doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Investing in the environment in order to stimulate job growth isn’t such a bad idea to look into either. According to an article posted by CleanTechnica.com, steel workers are now finding themselves in green jobs. This is due to a new wind farm in Missouri. The wind farm has turbines that sit on land leased on existing farms that continue to operate. So instead of destroying the local ecology, like a big dam can do, the wind-farm is able to operate on a farm without much or any ecological devestation to the community. The article also states that the wind farm pays taxes, supports schools, roads, and creates new green jobs. (www.CleanTechnica.com)

Many of us have heard a lot about stimulus packages in the news–but have we seen them put into place to create new jobs, especially green jobs?  Well one county in California is doing just that. According to an article in the Mercury News, San Mateo County’s Human Services agency was awarded almost 3 million by the United States Department for a project that prepares unemployed workers, particularly veterans, for environmental careers. Representative Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, stated, “The funding is great news for San Mateo County because trained job seekers will be matched with employers..By helping workers enter the fast-growing, critically important energy sector, the (retrofit-training) project will help create lasting employment and reduce our energy footprint.” (www.mercurynews.com)

So why have a negative attitude about the future when you can be part of the solution, instead of the problem? While it’s great to be cynical once in awhile, we can all do our part to start conserving energy today and be part of the solution to the energy crisis. This means advocating for cleaner energy and making steps to conserve energy, like cutting down your use of plastics and turning off the light when you leave the room. The Green Movement is everywhere you go and small steps begin to lead to bigger steps. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step–so take one small step at a time.

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