Why Bother?

After reading In Defense of Food I was over Michael Pollan. I was nearly over him before reading his latest book, but now - now, I'm into him again.

I was checking in on food news at the Ethicurean today and found a link to an article that he had in the New York Times Magazine last week. And it was exactly what I needed to read.

Here's why.

I was recently in a group in which there were divisive comments made about Marin County and the people that drive hybrid cars, "to feel good about themselves," they said. The gist was that conserving is less than intelligent, whatever the form of conservation. My heart was slamming against my ears. And I wasn't in an arena to speak out. This was not a high point of my week.

But a few days later in rides MP on his local green horse and in the third paragraph of his New York Times article Why Bother? he explains that my experience was not unique. He writes,

Tell me: How did it come to pass that virtue--a quality that for most of history has generally been deemed, well, a virtue--became a mark of liberal softheadedness? How peculiar, that doing the right thing by the environment--buying the hybrid, eating like a locavore--should now set you up for the Ed Begley Jr. treatment.

I've read the article twice and I'm heartened. I'll continue bothering with my damn drops in the bucket and when it's full I'll empty it onto the pots of greens on the back deck and fill the bucket again.

Thank you, Michael Pollan.

11 comments:

valereee said...

Kale for sale, why were you over him after IDOF?

Green Bean said...

Great article by Pollan! He so often writes what we feel. I bother because I can't live any other way.

Jenna said...

Hope you don't mind, I've linked your blog to my own. I'll pull it down if requested.

Theresa said...

It was good to read your post and his article. I do know in my head that 'bothering' matters, but sometimes it is good to be reminded of the concrete reasons why it does, and to be en-couraged to continue.

kendra said...

I really liked that article. I liked how he talked about changing the mind of the cheap fuel folks and that starting a small backyard garden was one way to do that. And how we should talk about what we do to cut back and make a difference...to make it interesting to other people.

Donna said...

I followed your link and what a great article! Thanks for passing it along. Now, if I can only get my little vegetable starts in my backyard to GROW!

Christina said...

My coworkers label me as a crazy hippie because of my little car and productive pot. It is frustrating, and I can see how angry you must have been this week. My best weapon has been my own produce: I'm winning them over by their tastebuds, rather than their brains. I hope their brains will follow.

Audrey said...

Conserving is less than intelligent? Which makes consuming ... smart? I don't get it. I have arguments in my head with people who talk like that but it's harder to put things eloquently. Good thing for MP.

Lisa said...

Hey, you know what? It DOES make me feel good to do the right thing. So if that's a criticism, I'll happily take it.

kale for sale said...

valereee - After IDOF I was disappointed at how MP completely backed off of the effect on the environment of transporting food around the country. He focused on the health benefits of eating real food but the environemet dropped out of his equation almost completely. I heard him speak several times and I would get so frustrated as he was the person that opened my eyes to the high cost of moving food around the planet. And he said he didn't want to be the spokesperson for the local food movement and I so wanted him to be. I'm glad to see he's still using his voice to raise awareness. Thanks for asking.

green bean - Yeah, he hit a few points that have been bouncing around and made a couple of new ones too.

jenna - Are you kiding? I'm complimented. Thank
you.

theresa - I agree that it's good to get reminders which is one of the reasons I appreciate all the bloggers. You know, I never realized that courage was part of encourage. Where have I been?

kendra - The interesting is key. I'm guilty of talking about gardening and cutting back and boring people half to hell. And I'm learning that listening is a good tool too.

donna - You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm the same way about wanting whatever I plant to grow right away and then it's always this miraculous surprise when it actually does.

christina - Smart. That's the surprise isn't it, the difference in taste between home grown or local foods and grocery store foods. And generally people, at least me, are more receptive to new ideas when in a pleasurable space than a defensive place. Thanks for the reminder that kindness cultivates commonality.

audrey - Oh good. I have arguments in my head too. The best are when I get to win. I appreciated your blog on this article too!

lisa - You go girl! Feel really good! And thanks for making me smile.

Verde said...

I'm glad he pushes us to do more. We have grown so accustomed to overconsumption that we think we can continue at the same lever if we change a light bulb and run out and buy a brand new Hybred.

I think he pushes us to make the significant kinds of changes we have to make