Blog Action Day: Are We Virtuous or Just Power-Mad?



Neville Longbottom: knows gardening is magic

Well, despite a push from the United Nations, we Garden Ranters were a Blog Action Day bust.  (Though Susan and Elizabeth kept us from total shame on their own blogs.)  Why no action-oriented rant here?  After all, we’re composters, mulchers, lawn-eliminators.  We’re a force for good.

The problem is, we don’t garden to be good.  I’ve had drinks with my partners, so I’ll risk saying that we’re all hedonists who garden because it’s a joy.  I had a big vegetable garden long before I had a carbon footprint, just for the fascinating shapes and sizes and growth rates of the plants, the close personal relationship you develop with the soil there, and the incomparably gorgeous food it produces.

Re the gardener and the environment: all of us are so hopeless as individuals.  I mean, who are we, compared to Exxon Mobil and GE, which in its manufacturing heyday managed to poison my whole part of the world?  Who are we compared to the aptly named Toll Brothers and all those people plopping down pre-fab vinyl in every high spot in my beautiful Washington County, NY?  Not only can’t any of us by ourselves stop what’s happening to the landscape around us, we can barely scream in a way that will be heard.

Blake Let’s not even start on the subject of carbon emissions and coal-fired power plants and those idiots at GM and Ford–or the craven toadying to rape-and-pillage industries that we get from our elected officials.  It’s all MADDENING.

I’d be mad, except for one saving grace.  We can make our own far better worlds in our own image in our own yards.  Fight back in the sphere we control.  Ban vinyl.  Pretend the internal combustion engine was never invented.  Take a tip from William Blake and play Adam and Eve with the spouse.  Play Demeter, and yell at the dog to get out of the lilies.  Maybe set a fine example for the neighbors, or maybe just keep ourselves happy and hopeful. 

So yeah, we Ranters do the right thing.  But that’s a boring reason to do anything. 


  1. Well you did put the word out about Blog Action Day before hand which encouraged me to do a post and probably many others so you can consider it an Action Day credit to cover your hedonistic gardening ways.

  2. Well said! BTW, I felt like a TOTAL FRAUD posting on how I’m helping to save the environment. I would do better if the action day was on civic activism …

    But I will say this–almost all I’ve learned and am trying to put into practice about sustainable gardening I have learned from my fellow gardeners on these blogs.

  3. Thanks, Trey! Some of us have been living environmentally sensitive lives for years, or in my case, decades. I don’t shout about it, I don’t lecture and I don’t nag.

  4. I don’t have a blog but if I did I sure would have put something up to support UN Blog Action Day on the Environment. It’s not a matter, it seems to me, of virtue, or nagging, or shouting from the mountain tops; it is a matter of showing solidarity on the most important issue of our day. Information passed around bloggers and action by bloggers can have an effect, otherwise why do we read them. Big enough numbers of bloggers on a subject have changed things. I’m sorry if gardener’s blogs were a bust, unfortunately we do have to look beyond our own back (or front) yards if we want our kids or grandkids to get as much enjoyment from gardening as we have.

  5. I agree. Not everyone has interest and expertise on everything. For those whose forte is something other than hard-core environmental action, the important thing is probably the expression of solidarity with the goal. In fact, it may be more powerful having lots of non-enviornmental focused bloggers saying, in essence, my thing is gardening, or archaeology, or whatever…, but I care about the environment too. By facilitating the accumulation of all this under Blog Action Day, the tools are there for activists to go to politician & policymakers and demonstrate that there are lots of “ordinary” people out there who do care.

    One can only hope it makes a bit of an impression.

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