Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Make you Fink on Friday

Going ‘green’ is more than shopping at Whole Foods and driving a Prius

Environmentalism in the US today has come to simply mean buying the right products. What if you can’t afford them?

Fresh produce at Whole Foods. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

As environmentalism goes mainstream, corporations are marketing the word “green” as a panacea for the world’s climate crisis. Today the word describes a set of prescribed, mostly consumerist actions: buy local, organic and fresh; go vegan; eat in season; skip the elevator, take the stairs. “Green” has come to mean shopping at Whole Foods and possessing a Prius. Meanwhile, leading corporate polluters like BP and ExxonMobil place commercials on CNN advertising their “green” practices.

It should come as no surprise, then, that “green” lifestyles don’t resonate with low-income communities; being “green” involves a set of behaviors that are financially or culturally inaccessible to millions of Americans. This presents a major problem for the environmental movement. If it is going to be successful, environmentalism simply cannot afford to be demographically segregated or isolated from the pathos of economic disparity.

The environmental movement needs to do a better job of connecting issues of race, class, poverty and sustainability; in short, it has to become a broader social movement. And people of color need visibility in the movement. By that, I don’t mean Barack Obama presiding over environmental policy from the White House or Lisa Jackson heading the Environmental Protection Agency during Obama’s first term. I mean the recognition that sustainable survival practices in poor communities are just as significant as solar panels and LED lights. Ultimately this is where the citizenry of the planet can and must come together in order to move forward.

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Change the World Wednesday – 1st May

Yes, here it is, the 1st May. The year is racing towards its half-way mark.

Beef week this week, again. Beefless next week. So what doe one do on a beef week when it’s 1st May?

Labor Day BBQ!

boys-will-be-boys-deby-dearmanMy last thought on last week’s CTWW on toilet paper, I’ll leave you with a ditty that we used to chant when I was at primary school.

Yes, boys will be boys.

“If in doubt,

Do not linger.

Robinson Crusoe

Used his finger!”

BRB, getting more coffee…

Back, yum yum!

This week’s CTWW:

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This week, feed yourself and your family on no more than $1.50 (or the equivalent in your currency) per day per person. Focus on the plight of individuals who live below the poverty line as well as how our food choices can help others and the environment. Pay close attention to eliminating waste and finding nutritional, Eco-friendly ways to stretch your budget.

I have done this. There have been times during my travels where I wasn’t a rich English teacher (that’s an oxymoron folks… rich English teachers don’t exist) and my meals were at subsistence levels, for several weeks once when I was in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia I couldn’t find work for three months and often my daily bread was a donut and small cup of tamarind juice; cost 50 centavos (USD 14 cents).

Even today at home, my daily cost can be below $1.50.


I know families in the slum behind our neighbourhood that this is a daily norm. I often give these kids a sandwich or something from my kitchen. Like today when I do the BBQ, if any pass by they will be invited to have something from the grill.

Most Americans, actually most of the western world, do not understand true poverty. I didn’t before I came to South America. Now I have lived with it, among it, and tasted (or not) it. Here there is so much poverty, and ergo hunger, that it seems normal. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

The First World sits comfortably on their chuffs at home and fight over the TV remote and think that is life. Sorry, but you have no idea of what life is about.

Travel is the great reckoner. I don’t mean boat cruises, or laying in the sun on Copacabana Beach for a week. I mean travel, amongst the people; do this and you will never be the same person again. </rant>

For me the best way to reduce food costs is leftovers.


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