Seriously, that’s all I’m saying. We don’t need any more "My Year
of Eating Locally" memoirs. We don’t need any more camera crews
following celebrity chefs around the farmers market as they coo over
the spring peas. I just want to talk about something else again. Your hen laid
the eggs and your kid grew the parsley at daycare. I get it. That’s
great. But I want to go back to gossip and dirty jokes at the dinner
table, for chrissakes.
I also make the point, in a very mild and understated way, that if we really want to save the planet,
we’d be much better off obsessing over something like public
transportation or daily commutes. Just check out the EPA’s stats on greenhouse gas emissions
(flip ahead to page 7) and you’ll see that while transportation
accounts for about a third of greenhouse gas, a full 60% of
those emissions are from personal vehicles, not trucks laden with imported apples. That’s you and me driving
back and forth to work (or, for that matter, back and forth to the
farmers market), baby. Throw in another 21% of emissions from
residential uses, and really, there’s an awful lot that you and I could
be doing to save the planet. It’s just that selling the house and
moving into a little apartment within walking distance of work doesn’t
taste as good as that farmstand apple. Nor does it make for a very interesting memoir.
When it comes to this locavore discussion, we lose all sense of proportion and all rationality. We have no basis for comparing the environmental impact of our eating habits to whatever it is that we do, make, use, buy, or sell for the other twenty-three hours of the day. Just look at what happens when someone even suggests that we should run the numbers on the greenhouse gas emissions of locally-grown vs. imported food. An interesting debate on "fair miles vs. food miles"
is taking place in Europe; we couldn’t approach that topic
here. It would be blasphemy.
Again. For those of you who haven’t listened to the commentary (and in the time it’s taken me to write this, my in-box has filled up with "I haven’t heard your commentary, but…" emails), my position is:
Locally-grown food: Wonderful.
Talking endlessly about how wonderful we are for eating locally-grown food: Boring.
Enough already. That’s all I’m saying.