Shopping is Important

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Greetings of the season! We're enjoying the solstice/festivus/Xmas, etc. Holiday with a real tree (though 2 of us argued for an artificial one). I rushed around a little earlier in the month and then had to stop rushing and start icing post knee surgery. Between vicodins I've had time to read, enjoy visitors, and reflect on where I want to put my energy in the new year. It's like trying to figure out the unified field theory of effort. I know when it feels right. Like buying gifts at the alternative gift fairs. Like using all the veggies in my Community Supported Agriculture box and sneaking some into my family's dinners. Like spending time with friends making gingerbread houses. I know when it feels wrong. Like making an extra car trip to pick up unhealthy, unappetizing food because I know that's what my family will eat. Like going to order/pay/eat restaurants where they process the processed food from the central warehouse. Like buying stuff made who knows where under who knows what working conditions and resulting in who knows what kind of environmental consequences.

How will we know when more people are voting with their $? The parking lots at malls and big box stores will be empty. People will shop at farmers' markets and will cook at home. When they go out to eat, it will be to restaurants that bought their food at the farmers' market. People will eat less meat and only meat from farms that treat their animals in a humane way. (Vegans, go to this link for "how we will know" People will demand to know to whom and to what institutions they are giving their $.

When I figure out the unified theory of effort, I'll let you know. In the meantime, enjoy your Holiday in whatever way it's meaningful for you.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This came from a jolly good fellow UU, HoHoHo...

For My Conservative Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

For My Liberal Friends:
"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for
an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress,
non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday,
practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion
of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice
not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a
fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated
recognition of the of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not
without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose
contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that
America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America
in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color,
age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.
By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is
subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no
alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to
actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and
is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of
the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance
of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's holiday shopping time! You can choose how to spend your $. Go to the mall and give your $ to people who get their merchanidise from wherever, or you can go to an alternative gift fair and buy fair trade items that directly benefit the craftspeople who made them. I'm going to 3 alternative gift fairs this year. I've bought gifts from Uganda, Chile, and India. They're just as nice as anything I could get at the mall. Look into and find out what fair trade aims for - a living wage for everyone. Who could be against that?

It's too late to see Fast Food Nation. We saw it with about 5 strangers last weekend. It was delicious and disturbing. When you go to Mickey D's, you're not just getting food that's bad for you, you're supporting a system that rewards ranchers for keeping their cattle in crowded unsanitary feedlots, that forces slaughterhouses to hire undocumented workers to keep the food cheap, and the advertising machine that keeps people going there. Instead of playing that game, give your $ directly to farmers through a Community Supported Agriculture group in your area. Search CSA and Your Town to hook up to organic veggies delivered to your home or close to it that come directly from the farmer who grew them. Healthy, cheap, and delicious.

Shopping is Important is taking most of December off to devote more time to careful shopping. My wish for you (and for myself) for 2007 is to make time to consider whether your actions are consistent with your values. I think this is one thing that draws people to church on Christmas eve. If you haven't been to church in a while, check it out. We found the UU on Christmas eve 3 years ago, and it's made a wonderful difference in our lives. The UU is not for everyone. Shop for the church that's right for you. Happy Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice!