Posts tagged ‘pensiveness’

In retrospect this may be straying into TMI territory…

I have an extremely minor but niggling medical complaint which is too intimate to discuss in public; suffice to say, I have finished the course of treatment the doctor prescribed, it has had no effect and I am now going to abandon this and attempt some natural/alternative remedies* to see if they help. I don’t plan to announce this to anyone (it is, after all, unfit for public discussion), but I can imagine the general tenor of their response were I to do so.

I occasionally tell people I use cider vinegar as deodorant. The unenlightened generally recoil in horror from my hippified body and gasp, ‘Does it work? Don’t you smell?’ Well, yes, sometimes I do. But sometimes I did when I used commercial deodorant. Sometimes other people who use commercial deodorant are a bit whiffy. The difference is that when I used commercial deodorant, I assumed it would work and assumed I wouldn’t smell. When people who use commercial deodorant are unintentionally fragrant, the default position is that this is somehow the exception to their normally un-smelly state and not because their deodorant is ineffective. However, if someone using a natural deodorant (there are many options besides cider vinegar, and, if you regularly shave under your arms and are not blessed with a freakishly high pain threshold, you may wish to consider these) were to smell, this would not be attributed to, say, the fact that they had done a lot of exercise or sat all day in a stuffy centrally-heated office, but would be because their deodorant was ineffective, because they are a dirty hippy.

So I was going to write a post on how we automatically assume that shiny modern things are better than simple old-fashioned things and always give the former the benefit of the doubt, while being quick to denigrate the latter. And then I looked at my blog feed and realised Sharon had already said everything I wanted to say, much better than I could.

Here’s the link.



* Neither of these terms seems ideal, but you know what I mean. Garlic ‘n herbs ‘n stuff.

March 26, 2009 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

“Waves of anger and fear”

And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

I think it must be the time of year. I vaguely remember having a similar period of gloom last year, on a Friday evening, when Scientist Boyfriend was off revelling with other pensions consultants, about the total failure of the powers that be to do anything about the fact that our society is, hmm, somewhere between wildly unsustainable and on the brink of catastrophe. I think I am mostly disappointed by how we have totally squandered the chance we had since climate change and, to a lesser extent, peak oil went ‘mainstream’ about two years ago to actually make some real change. Aside from a bit of faffing around with lightbulbs and recycling boxes (and there were plenty of idiotic newspaper columnists who tried to convince us we were too busy and important to even to these) precisely zilch has changed and now, I sense a collective sigh of relief that now the recession means we can’t afford to, erm, not run cars or take foreign holidays.

Admittedly, this is not strictly true – we do have the world’s first climate change law and feed-in tariffs for microgeneration, but I have noticed no substantial change in the overall political and social climate, which still seems to regard ‘being green’ as essentially a middle class luxury, to be tacked onto the daily business of living, rather than an opportunity for social justice and a possible, nay necessary, lifestyle for everyone. Furthermore, the government’s climate change committee has been recommending clean coal and suggesting that, “It’s possible for the world to cut greenhouse gases while still not cutting aviation by anything like as much, even increase aviation emissions,” while the government is also re-opening the debate about GM crops.

There are plenty of wonderful individuals doing their bit in many inspiring and diverse ways, but I feel this is in spite of rather than because of any external incentives to do so. Most of us feel lonely and like we’re swimming against the tide, at least at times,and even if we enjoy what we do, we feel, well, like everyone thinks we’re a bit odd.

So, the long and the short of this is that, despite everything I’ve said about how the mainstream environmental movement drives me potty and the relative merits of political action versus individual and community action, I’m finally angry enough to go on the climate march tomorrow. I’d like to say something about how this was because I’ve been reading things like George Monbiot’s The Age of Consent and have become convinced that protest is useful and that we should all put aside our differences to fight for something big and meaningful in this insane world. However, that would be a lie.

I’m just really, really, really pissed off. I do not want to spend the rest of my life paying higher taxes to pay back the money we’ve spent bailing out the City. I do not want my parents to have to get flooded every year. I do not want oil to get to $300 a barrel before we’ve come up with plan B. In short, I loathe knowing that I’m going to spend the rest of my life clearing up the mess the previous generation made and trying to explain to my own children why it happened.

(I would also like to know why there’s an orange paper hat, presumably from a cracker, on the coffee table. Hmm.)

So, yes, I was going to say that if anybody else was going tomorrow, or rather if anybody else was half-wanting to go but frightened of going on their own, we could maybe meet up, but I’ve left it so late we’d only have 12 hours to co-ordinate! But, if you want to try, leave a comment or email me at sproutingbroccoli [AT] gmail [DOT] com. I’m actually going with a friend from FoE, but until I knew she was going I was intending to hook up with these people, who seem very un-scary:

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair
Show an affirming flame.

W.H. Auden – September 1, 1939

December 5, 2008 at 9:03 pm 2 comments

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."