Today was a beautiful day. Finally, a respite from the humidity came, and I awoke refreshed, not sticky like last week. After eating a ridiculously large breakfast at a local restaurant, I picked strawberries (that weren't sprayed) from a local field. I baked shortcake for dinner using locally grown and ground pastry flour, and made a salad with local lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and cilantro. It was an excellent day, and I basically radiated happiness and pleasure at dinner. I marveled over the beauty of a head of reddish romaine lettuce and the crunchiness of local cucumber. I delighted in fresh strawberries that had traveled a mere three blocks (by bike, no less). And I will admit, I took pride in my actions. To me, local eating is very important. Phil posted this earlier: Everything you know about water conservation is wrong, and it explains just one of the myriad of reasons eating local is important. Beyond the fact that eating local conserves tons of water [doesn't travel far and doesn't use fuel to transport vessels of water (aka fruit and vegetables)], local produce is fresher, tastier, and supports your local economy.
On Sunday, a female member of the congregation gave the sermon on household economics, and made mention of the "more-with-less contest" in which we often find ourselves. Living green means making certain choices, such as local eating, and it can easily turn into a contest, or yet another way of "keeping up with the Joneses." Instead of buying a new car to one-up your neighbor, you recycle more than they do, and transport it to the bins by bike. You shop solely at the co-op while your next door neighbor shops at Meijer. Living green means assigning moral value to certain lifestyle practices, she stated, so how do we avoid comparison to others? This comparing leads to self-righteousness (which I noticed in myself as I gazed into my salad bowl and mentally gave myself a gold star) or feeling like you're not doing enough. Neither is helpful. I often talk to people about my own choices: to eat less meat, to carry reusable bags, to eat local when possible, and often hear that they feel overwhelmed and stuck. By comparing yourself to others, it's easy to cripple yourself and do nothing. So I encourage you: do something small today. Refill your water bottle. Buy a local cucumber. Carry a reusable bag.
As for myself, I will work on my self-righteousness. I will work harder to not feel holier-than-thou while eating my local salad. I will turn towards gratitude for the sun and rain, soil, and people that made this local food possible. I will turn towards gratitude for my neighbors, for those who try and do small things and avoid getting stuck and for those who are stuck. And today, I will eat fresh strawberries and moan with pleasure. As my fellow Assembly-ite stated, I will say, "I have enough, I am enough, Thank You."