Hopefully my regular readers won't be too upset by me today. I'm not writing about my garden, but putting up a post for one of the groups I follow. And as the garden winds down there is so much less to write about in the garden.
I'm such a bad APLS (yes the pun is always intended) when it comes to education. I find it amusing that I pick to do a post on something that I'm really bad at. I really don't go out of my way to educate myself, at least not usually. Last weekend was the Boston GreenFest. I swear I was going to go, if just for the lecture on sustainable gardening. If you live in Boston, you will understand why I didn't. We got a LOT of rain - over 5". An outdoor festival in the pouring rain, is not a fun thing.
However I do learn. I read a lot, listen to podcasts on occasion, go to science fiction conventions (Don't mock them. You would be surprised that I can always find at least one and sometimes several lectures that involve sustainability issues. I find the people there are very green. I even met a gal that raises grass fed organic beef and one person that lives off the grid. - The food there however will kill you.). I don't specifically do any of these activities for the sustainability issues, but since my interests include science, I run into a lot of knowledge out there. Science Friday (an NPR radio show that loves green issues) had a particularly interesting show on sustainable farming a while back. MIT (my alma mater) is always sending me emails about their latest finds in green energy. Science News often has good information, some of which is never picked up by mainstream media.
So how do I educate others. Well rarely. I am not an activist by nature. I don't like people telling me how to live and I don't tell others how to live their lives either. I also tend to see both sides of an issue. When my son was in elementary school maybe 10 years ago, he came home one day very mad at the South American farmers. He had been taught that the people in South America were cutting down the rain forest for farms, using up the soil then doing it again. I thought this teaching was wrong. I told my son if I were in their position I would do the same thing. OK I'm sure you are all cringing now. But if my family needed the food and I didn't know how to farm sustainably I'd cut the forest down to feed them. It would be a rare person in that position who wouldn't. The problem was not with the farmers. It was with teaching the farmers, and making sure they get a wage where they can live off a sustainable farm. But every problem has many facets and more than one side can be 'right'.
That doesn't mean I don't educate if someone asks a question. If they ask they are fair game. For example, at our farmer's market, I was in line to buy my produce. A nice gentleman was in line with me and asked me why I had empty containers in my hand. This particular farm puts their small potatoes and tomatoes in plastic baskets. I said they were from last week and I'm returning them so they can be used again. He asked me why I don't just recycle them. I gave him a short lecture on the three Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle. We always try to reduce first, if we can't then we reuse, only then should we recycle. Well he didn't think the farm would take them back. I'm mean goodness they've been used before. The horrors they might be dirty. You can't convert everyone immediately but maybe he will think about it. And yes the farm was quite grateful to take them back.
My immediate family is also fair game. The kids especially. It is my job as a parent to educate my kids. From the previous story with my son, you will notice that the school system here does try to educate the kids on sustainability. Personally I think with my family I'm more on the order of being the green nag. Turn off the lights. Turn off the computer. That container is recyclable, so wash it out and put it in the bin. Don't waste the food, if you aren't going to eat it all don't put it on your plate. So yes I'm the mommy nag.
I do occasionally have more serious discussions with them, usually about our food system, because I'm a vegetable gardener and that is my passion.
But also the values we give the kids are important. Buying things and consumerism isn't what makes you happy in life. The Buddhists have it right when they say desire is the root of unhappiness. Don't think you need things to make you happy. You don't need another skirt, more shoes, or fancy things. All that you need are the basics in life; a roof over your head and food on the table. And to be happy you need people; you need community. Wanting STUFF will only make you unhappy. My kids are not big spenders. They don't want to be. They are happy with that.
As to my husband, well he probably knows about as much as me. Maybe what he knows is different, but I don't feel a great need to educate him. He might make a different choice than I do sometimes (for better or worse), butI think he understands the issues.