Bootstrappin’ (Maybe a good Kayne West song)

So I read this today:

You know, use your canvas totes for groceries; take your bike or walk rather than drive to the store; reduce meat consumption; consume local produce, preferably in season. I nod in agreement, usually without thinking about it, but of course, I started reading a book yesterday called “Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.” “America” could be subbed out for “Canada,” because despite some slightly self-righteous protestations, a “Canadian value” (if there is such a thing – maybe more of a wealthy country more) is bootstrapping it: pulling yourself up by same.

This is why I read books, and lots of them. They make me see things differently, think about things differently than I have before. The author of this book started her writing journey by trying to explain to people the mind of a person living in poverty, namely, herself and her family. Even a chapter or so in, I am already feeling the uncomfortable weight of my wealth and gross assumptions I carry about people who may be struggling financially. And I didn’t even grow up in the same type of poverty this lady is talking about.

So back to the article itself, about green resolutions. These are only possible for people with time and a certain amount of money to even contemplate doing, let alone adopt as permanent habits. So after the Spud article made me feel very uncomfortable, I thought about the author’s story in the book “Hand to Mouth.”

I guess maybe this list could be rewritten as the following:

1) Use those canvas totes to carry your groceries out of the store in!

Wait, they aren’t usually free. A dollar is a dollar, right? And also, one more thing to carry with you, possibly on public transit (which you aren’t taking for exercise or to be environmentally green).

2) Walk and cycle!

Depending where you live, it’s not easy or convenient to bike or walk to a grocery store. Especially if you live in what are known as food dead zones, where fresh, affordable food is a long distance away.

3) Reduce meat consumption!

This seems like a no-brainer to be green, right? Less pollution, less land used for raising meat, et cetera. But what if that is your only source of iron or protein, I thought. Eggs, milk, and an adequate supply of green leafy vegetables may be out of reach for some. So the cheap beef in the discount grocery store (not your kosher local organic butcher shop) looks like a good option.

4) And local, in-season produce is the best!

Well, I actually have a comment to make on this one from personal experience. Growing up in the lovely town of Red Deer, Alberta, with freezing cold, long, dark winters, in-season and local produce would be potatoes and maybe canned stuff my mom managed to do in the summer. So again, thinking of people who live near the poverty line or below it in Canada, how is this suggestion attainable? What can we do as a community to make food more affordable for all, while keeping in mind the environment?

I told you some of these daily thoughts wouldn’t be fully parsed out.


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