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Author Topic: The Contradiction  (Read 10559 times)
Ellen M.
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« Reply #15: September 10, 2010, 09:03:22 pm »

Do you feel at all responsible as you turn the key to start your car?

No.

I am not responsible for what others have done or the culture I live in. I can't afford to buy a newer, fuel-efficient car. I can't afford to quit my part-time job (the one I have that helps put me through college) which requires that I have a car. There is no public transportation anywhere near where I live, and I'm not going to get a carpool every time I want to visit a friend.

I support the green movement, and I support being more ecologically aware and, when possible, substituting eco-friendly alternatives for those that are less so. But I refuse to feel guilty for using a car, or for not having the money to buy organic foods, or for not really caring about my carbon footprint. These options are not available to all strata of society, and I really, really dislike the attitude with which you've presented your "argument". Some people literally have to have a car to survive. Cars get you to jobs, jobs get you money, money gets you shelter and food for you and your family. There is nothing morally questionable about surviving.

I love the earth, and I love nature, and I have faith that humans can learn to co-exist with our environment, one day. But if you're asking me to make the choice between Mother Nature and the life I'm constrained to live based on my socioeconomic class... I'm picking my human family over Gaia every single time.
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« Reply #16: September 11, 2010, 08:57:30 pm »

No.

I am not responsible for what others have done or the culture I live in. I can't afford to buy a newer, fuel-efficient car. I can't afford to quit my part-time job (the one I have that helps put me through college) which requires that I have a car. There is no public transportation anywhere near where I live, and I'm not going to get a carpool every time I want to visit a friend.

I support the green movement, and I support being more ecologically aware and, when possible, substituting eco-friendly alternatives for those that are less so. But I refuse to feel guilty for using a car, or for not having the money to buy organic foods, or for not really caring about my carbon footprint. These options are not available to all strata of society, and I really, really dislike the attitude with which you've presented your "argument". Some people literally have to have a car to survive. Cars get you to jobs, jobs get you money, money gets you shelter and food for you and your family. There is nothing morally questionable about surviving.

I love the earth, and I love nature, and I have faith that humans can learn to co-exist with our environment, one day. But if you're asking me to make the choice between Mother Nature and the life I'm constrained to live based on my socioeconomic class... I'm picking my human family over Gaia every single time.

This.  Thank you, Ellen, for articulating what I could not after 3 attempts.
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« Reply #17: September 11, 2010, 09:29:15 pm »

This.  Thank you, Ellen, for articulating what I could not after 3 attempts.

It's what I'm here for. <3
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« Reply #18: September 13, 2010, 10:24:13 pm »

Our beloved Earth should not be facing many of the problems she currently faces, such as over population, mountainous landfills, global warming (and the consequent rise in sea level), pollution and ever diminishing natural resources. . .

Is there a better way?


First off, Randall is right.  This earth we live on has seen many different circumstances and will continue to change one way or another.  The scientists now agree that the earth is around 4.5 BILLION years old.  WOW, how many times has change occurred with or without mankind?

Secondly, the only public transportation in our town are taxis and school buses.  I don't think the school bus will come pick us up and take us home when we have one of many sports functions to attend.  And since we are a family of seven, I have yet to see a taxi that can accommodate us.  Bikes are out since we live 5 miles just to the edge of town.  Our town is big enough to require a car but small enough to not provide public transportation (buses, trains, trolleys, whatever). 

And sister, if you can find a better way than go for it!
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« Reply #19: September 13, 2010, 11:09:03 pm »

There is nothing morally questionable about surviving.

Amen. 

This is like when well-meaning liberals in Boulder (the Whole-foods shopping, Prius-driving kind) come down on poorer people for shopping at Walmart. 

OK, Walmart bad.  I get it.  But most of the people who condemn others for shopping there don't know what it's like to have no other options.
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« Reply #20: September 13, 2010, 11:16:42 pm »

Amen. 

This is like when well-meaning liberals in Boulder (the Whole-foods shopping, Prius-driving kind) come down on poorer people for shopping at Walmart. 

OK, Walmart bad.  I get it.  But most of the people who condemn others for shopping there don't know what it's like to have no other options.

Ahh, but there are always other affordable options.  It just takes some time, research, and effort to find them.  We are a family of 7 with a very limited income and no government assistance, I do NOT shop at Wal-Mart.  People here ask me, "Then where do you shop?"  As if there are no other stores in town?Huh

I am not trying to sound mean here either, just know that the Walton empire does not have to continue to grow because you feel you have no other affordable options.   
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« Reply #21: September 13, 2010, 11:22:31 pm »

Ahh, but there are always other affordable options.  It just takes some time, research, and effort to find them.  We are a family of 7 with a very limited income and no government assistance, I do NOT shop at Wal-Mart.  People here ask me, "Then where do you shop?"  As if there are no other stores in town?Huh  

There are places where the choice is Wal-Mart or driving 45 minutes or an hour (each way) to somewhere else. So sometimes, yeah. That is the choice, for what people can't grow/produce themselves.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart either (and I spent a couple of years with a food budget of $20 a week for my meals outside of lunch at work, and the rest of my budget as tightly pared as I could), but I also know I'm lucky to be living in a place where I do have choices. (Major metro area). I eye people funny here, but I also know that there are a lot of people in more rural parts of my state who don't have that choice - don't have a car that can reliably do that distance, can't drive safely at least some of the time, simply have other things depending on that time.
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« Reply #22: September 13, 2010, 11:32:06 pm »

There are places where the choice is Wal-Mart or driving 45 minutes or an hour (each way) to somewhere else. So sometimes, yeah. That is the choice, for what people can't grow/produce themselves.

In my county, Wal-Mart is the cheapest place for clothes and food. Yeah, we've got other grocery stores, some farmer's markets, and a Peebles (that's a clothing department store type thing), but hands down, Wally World costs the least. And we've got a massive percentage of our county on foodstamps and/or with families where 6-12 kids isn't uncommon. And even who folks can afford to shop elsewhere might be deterred by spending gas to get elsewhere.

*insert rant here about how the entire go-green movement is an upper-middle class phenomena that projectile vomits on lower socioeconomic classes*

I love the green movement, I do. But not all of us have the privilege of participating as fully as we'd like.
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« Reply #23: September 14, 2010, 02:48:49 am »

Do you feel at all responsible as you turn the key to start your car?

Do you feel it's appropriate to come into an internet forum and judge people for their personal choices?  This isn't a rhetorical question.

I do a lot of things to offset my footprint.  My house is always chilly in the winter because I won't let anyone turn the thermostat above 60.  I regularly cook with recycled wood on a small stove outside.  I literally almost never buy anything retail.  I dumpster dive.  I consolidate trips when I use my car.  I carpool when I can.  I don't travel on planes (like, ever).  I have a large food garden (from which I can and dehydrate most of what we don't eat immediately).  I'll soon be raising and slaughtering my own pasture-fed meat.  I avoid plastic packaging when I shop, and always, always bring my canvas bags with me.  I make my own gifts, most from renewable or recycled components.  My car is old but kept in perfect running order.  Eventually I plan to move to a biodiesel/greasel vehicle, but this one needs to give up the ghost first.

Please don't make assumptions about me because I own a car.  And I won't make assumptions about you based your last post.

Brina
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« Reply #24: September 14, 2010, 07:52:31 am »

Do you feel it's appropriate to come into an internet forum and judge people for their personal choices?  This isn't a rhetorical question.

I believe that things like this are one of the main turn-offs to the ecological movement -- and have been since it really got started in the 1960s. Instead of praising people for the 1% they do (which would likely encourage them to strive to do 2%, etc.) they are generally condemned for the 99% they don't do (which seldom encourages people to improve). 

Worse, people are generally told what they could be doing by well-meaning individuals who generally have no idea what the exact conditions are for the people they are lecturing. It's one thing to live in the same area and make about the same income (and have about the same expenses) as person X and help person X me more green by providing them with specific local information where they can do X in a more green manner while living within their financial and physical limits. That's helpful.  It's another thing to sit in another part of the country and assume because one can do X locally, everyone else in the rest of the country can  do the same.  This always reminds me of the person we had years ago who insisted that ANYONE with a high school education and a willingness to work could easily find a job making at least $60,000 a year because she lived in a rare place where this seemed to be true -- so it had to be true for everyone else in the country....
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« Reply #25: September 14, 2010, 08:05:59 am »

In my county, Wal-Mart is the cheapest place for clothes and food. Yeah, we've got other grocery stores, some farmer's markets, and a Peebles (that's a clothing department store type thing), but hands down, Wally World costs the least. And we've got a massive percentage of our county on foodstamps and/or with families where 6-12 kids isn't uncommon. And even who folks can afford to shop elsewhere might be deterred by spending gas to get elsewhere.

*insert rant here about how the entire go-green movement is an upper-middle class phenomena that projectile vomits on lower socioeconomic classes*

I love the green movement, I do. But not all of us have the privilege of participating as fully as we'd like.

I tried to do this last night but the puter refused to work with me.

ALL of this. Yes. This is where we stand as well. Especially your inserted rant. YES YES YES. Even if we could afford to shop elsewhere, the cost of gas to get there would make us think at least twice, maybe five times. Also, now that hubby works for the place, if he stays there 90 days he'll get a discount. We'd be idiots not to take advantage of that in our situation. (Yes, he works at WalMart because it was literally his only remaining option. Two other guys in the deli are in the same boat: "We went from making our week's pay in two days, to making it in two weeks." Think on that.)

But . . . yes. You nailed this spot on.
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #26: September 14, 2010, 08:33:30 am »

I tried to do this last night but the puter refused to work with me.

ALL of this. Yes. This is where we stand as well. Especially your inserted rant. YES YES YES. Even if we could afford to shop elsewhere, the cost of gas to get there would make us think at least twice, maybe five times. Also, now that hubby works for the place, if he stays there 90 days he'll get a discount. We'd be idiots not to take advantage of that in our situation. (Yes, he works at WalMart because it was literally his only remaining option. Two other guys in the deli are in the same boat: "We went from making our week's pay in two days, to making it in two weeks." Think on that.)

But . . . yes. You nailed this spot on.


I hope your Wal-Mart is kinder to its employees than the one nearby. Sad

This has been a rant that's been simmering for a few years, ever since I took a freshman writing class called Ecology and Justice for All at Bryn Mawr. Between that class and running into all sorts of hyper-greenies, I had such a hard time convincing some of the other students (who, given the fact BMC costs an arm and a leg to attend, were more likely to come from higher socioeconomic classes and regularly shopped at places like Whole Foods, and who may never have gone inside Wal-Mart in their life) that income was a huge factor in this. Education is a huge factor, the economy is a huge factor, and I was about ready to punch the next girl who didn't need a lick of financial aid who blathered on about how easy it was to be green.

Also, the righteousness that comes from some of the more zealous folks makes me grind my teeth. What about helping the earth because you love it and think it's worth saving? Do we really need to put on a show of being greener-than-thou?

*deeeep breath*

I try to do a little bit at a time. All my lightbulbs are those energy saver ones, and I've cut back on my meat consumption. I can walk into town while I'm at college and a bunch of my friends have cars that we carpool with if we need to head out into the larger city. I've joined Earthbound, the campus environmental group (we're taking a trip to see the effects of mountain-top removal in a few weeks. Why the hell aren't more people pissed about this, but crap a gasket every time someone uses plastic instead of paper or canvas?). I literally hug trees, and I've never kicked a panda.

If only I could rearrange my DNA to photosynthesize... then I could clean the air as I walked around! Yes, yes, it seems biologically feasible (in Doctor Who or Star Trek, maybe).
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« Reply #27: September 14, 2010, 09:07:54 am »

If only I could rearrange my DNA to photosynthesize... then I could clean the air as I walked around! Yes, yes, it seems biologically feasible (in Doctor Who or Star Trek, maybe).

Now I know why the wicked witch has green skin!
So she was not that evil at all, but just photosyntesizing.  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #28: September 14, 2010, 09:18:24 am »

Now I know why the wicked witch has green skin!
So she was not that evil at all, but just photosyntesizing.  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

See? And Glinda represented evil corporations who care more about profits than people or the environment! And Dorothy was just a poor pawn who was taught that nature can't be trusted and we should all live in gleaming, metallic cities instead.

In a past life, I was an English major.
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« Reply #29: September 14, 2010, 12:48:18 pm »

...

*deeeep breath*

I try to do a little bit at a time. All my lightbulbs are those energy saver ones, and I've cut back on my meat consumption. I can walk into town while I'm at college and a bunch of my friends have cars that we carpool with if we need to head out into the larger city. I've joined Earthbound, the campus environmental group (we're taking a trip to see the effects of mountain-top removal in a few weeks. Why the hell aren't more people pissed about this, but crap a gasket every time someone uses plastic instead of paper or canvas?). I literally hug trees, and I've never kicked a panda.

If only I could rearrange my DNA to photosynthesize... then I could clean the air as I walked around! Yes, yes, it seems biologically feasible (in Doctor Who or Star Trek, maybe).

Ellen, I love you.  Grin

I live in a suburb of Philadelphia that is just far enough outside the city to make public transportation not an option for most trips.  Since I have to use my car to get around, I try to compensate by doing all my errands in one trip and by driving the highest MPG car I can afford to keep on the road.  And no, it isn't a Prius.

I think the little things add up, and I wish more people would take note.  F'ex, our township has recycles of all types of plastic, glass, aluminum products, and paper.  We're the only ones on our street who carefully break down our cardboard boxes and junk mail so it can be recycled.  This has taken us down from four bags of "trash" per week to one bag of true "garbage" and two full bins of recycling.  It may be a little thing, but it is one that someone in any income bracket could do (assuming they live in an area that has recycling).
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