Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think Globally, Eat Whatever You Darn Well Please

Ever heard of a "locavore"? Me neither. Stick with me for a minute.

"Paper or plastic?" I can still remember the first time I was asked that question by a grocery store clerk. It's been many years, but the reason I remember is that at the time I didn't know the "right" answer to the question. So, embarrassed, I stalled for an awkward moment before finally mumbling sheepishly, "Uh, plastic?"

You see, in the early 1970s I had been a bag boy myself at a local grocery store. This was long before anyone was offered a choice between paper, plastic, or anything else for that matter. At one point during my employment, we, as a country, were going through yet another one of those manufactured scares about the looming unavailability of this, that, or another commodity. This time it was paper products. A year or so later it would be oil. A year or so earlier it had been beef. (Yep, beef.) Anyway, this time it was paper and the reason our supply of paper was in jeopardy was, of course, because we were cutting down trees for pulp at an unsustainable rate. Whatever the reason, because we were short on paper, or anticipated being short on paper, my boss instructed all of us bag boys to no longer double bag.

So, when the clerk asked me whether I wanted paper or plastic, I froze. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to answer "plastic", as it would save a tree from being felled unnecessarily, or if "paper" was the correct response, as it was a renewable and biodegradable resource. (Plus, the clerk was cute and I was trying oh so hard to look cool.)

This is all a very long way around to recommending to you a short piece on another currently fashionable, politically correct liberal dogma: In order to save the planet, by reducing global warming, by using less energy, purchase and consume only locally grown produce. Hence, "locavore". Get it?

The problem is that it's all nonsense, as are most liberal nostrums, and the writer of the piece actually sat down and did the math to prove it. His conclusion:
The best way to make the most of these truly precious resources of land, favorable climates and human labor is to grow lettuce, oranges, wheat, peppers, bananas, whatever, in the places where they grow best and with the most efficient technologies — and then pay the relatively tiny energy cost to get them to market, as we do with every other commodity in the economy. Sometimes that means growing vegetables in your backyard. Sometimes that means buying vegetables grown in California or Costa Rica.
So, the next time some smug, condescending liberal sneers when you buy oranges from, say, Israel,...punch him in the nose. Then, I guess, if you feel you must, refer him to the article.

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