In Andy’s occupations group we are reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbra Kingsolver. The book describes how the author and her family decide to eat entirely local for one year. The reason Andy is having us read this book is that, now that it is fall, we are preserving a lot of food so we can eat locally in the winter too. When I was reading the first ten pages of the book, I found myself wanting to do my part of keeping the earth clean. And when I say clean, it is literal.
In fact, in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle there was a small section called “oily food”. It stated that the average United States citizen consumes 400 gallons of fossil fuels a year. EACH CITIZEN! I found that shocking and horrific. A good way to reduce this is to simply buy a gallon of fuel and drink it. A more pleasant way to improve the amount of oil used is to eat local. If each citizen ate one entirely local meal a week, our country would save 1.1 million barrels of fossil fuels in that one week!
But this problem is not solved so easily. Fuel is not only used for transportation, it is used for electricity, which is a main factor in food storage. Electricity is one of the so called “essentials”. Even though it is one of the “essentials” maybe we can eliminate it. Maybe it isn’t really essential to have a refrigerator. If you think about it, we could harvest our veggies right before we eat them, letting the ground take care of storage issues. We could do the same with fruit. We could kill an animal the same day that we eat it, or not eat animals at all. We could harvest grain and crush it in between two stones, creating the flour for bread. Our ovens could be solar, or wood burning. We could use geothermal energy, or even no energy.
But now I’m thinking, is this a logical thought? The answer is most obviously no. A typical resident of the United States would not change their ways so vastly. Nobody could throw away their essentials just like that. But it is possible to alter essentials over a long period of time. Maybe that is a more realistic thought, it could actually happen. Though to reach this goal we will need to expand our minds so much that they will burst open, smothering the old essentials, replacing them with new, friendlier ones, that will eventually save our world, and the people on it.