Will It Ruin The Planet If I Buy These Blueberries??

Blueberries from ChileAh, January. It’s the season of snow and ice and other annoyances.

But there’s an UP-side: in the supermarkets I can find tubs of fat, dark, juicy blueberries.

I love ‘em. Call me an old anti-oxidant junkie. (In fact, some of you might have noticed that my Gmail address is supposed to be “wild blueberries” in French. I say “supposed to be” because I misspelled it; oh well, Comment puis-je être maladroit?)

Anyway, there these beauties were today, in one of our local emporia, reasonably priced, considering, and making one’s mouth to water.

But as I put them in the cart, I heard these voices in my head, sounding like some of my greener friends:

Tas, tsk, went the voices. How could you be so selfish, so eager to join in the ruination of the atmosphere and the environment generally? Don’t you know those berries are shipped here from 5,000 miles away by atmosphere-destroying airliner??

Besides which, chimes in another, they’re not even organic; full of toxics and pesticides.
Chile as the source

For that matter, echoes a third, we’re supposed to be buying local, and seasonal; plenty of blueberries grow in Carolina, within an hour’s drive, and they’ll be ready for you in June.

Now the chorus: so get with the new age program; practice some discipline and delayed gratification. Have a rutabaga, or maybe some winter–grown Carolina collards instead.

Well. What’s a politically correct fella supposed to do? On the one side –the planet. On the other — damn, those berries look good. Fat-, caffeine- and cholesterol-free too. (And face it: rutabagas on pancakes or in muffins?)

So help me out here, people. What’s it going to be? Collards, rutabagas, and dreams of July blueberry madness?

Or instant gratification, imperial entitlement, atmospheric destruction, and global warming, all for some Vitamins A, K and potassium. . . .??
Bluberries In Winter!

7 thoughts on “Will It Ruin The Planet If I Buy These Blueberries??”

  1. Now, see, this is the kind of thing about Quakerism I can’t quite wrap my brain around…I blame a distorted quasi-Buddhism for this…the idea that you must be mindful of everything within a global perspective, yeah that’s good, when you’re fighting climate change, etcetera.

    On the other hand, taking it down to the micro level, to the point where every single decision you make has the butterfly effect? Yeah, no. That’s not healthy either. Balance in all things, I say!

    Blueberries are regularly 7.99/pint here — when they went on sale for 2.99, I bought four pints and ate a pint a day. So. I might be biased. But fresh fruit is at a premium here. I also bought two bags of blood oranges, which probably makes me second only to Pol Pot, in Friends’ eyes. Eh, I just shrug. There are other, better ways, to make bigger changes, IMO, then worrying about one pint (or two or three or four) of delicious, delicious blueberries. Although I do eat local ones in season, when they’re available.

  2. I say eat the blueberries… You are doing your part in lots of other ways! We are trying to go 75% organic this year. What a challenge for a family of six. I am not doing too bad so far in shopping. Of course, we are only three weeks into this goal.

  3. Some Quakers say that most people in this country are so self-indulgent that we put our every pleasure above all else. So what if the blueberries were flown in from far away? I want ’em, and I want ’em now. I can’t wait til way next June for local berries. I can’t be bothered with thinking about the ozone layer and global warming. Besides, I recycle and take my own cloth shopping bag to the grocery store; that’s enough activism. Only a fanatic would try to eat just what’s in season. Same logic with war. I have a peace symbol tattooed on my ear to show my pacificism, so why should I also love my Islamic neighbors? God knows, they all want to kill us anyway. And while we’re thinking about how much effort is enough, what’s wrong with my SUV? It’s true I never haul around a family of nine—I’m usually the only one in it. And since it’s far from aerodynamic, the mileage isn’t great, but everybody else has one, and driving it makes me feel cool. Next thing I know, you extremists will want me to avoid buying fast food that comes in Styrofoam boxes because they’re not biodegradable. And if my salad comes in a plastic container that’s not recyclable, well, at least the veggies are healthy. So don’t bug me about my blueberries or strawberries or asparagus from California in January. I’m doing my bit.

  4. I dunno if you’re being satirical or not, but yeah, that’s the whole unhealthy reaction in a nutshell. (With all the implied assumptions about the addressee contained therein.)

    There’s a reason this commercial is hilarious; because it encapsulates perfectly everything that is wrong with this mentality (as anything taken to extremes is unhealthy).

    Seriously! A couple pints of blueberries once a year are not going to make the hole in the ozone layer thousands of fathoms bigger. Neither is NOT buying them going to make it any smaller. After all, good old George didn’t tell us to sequester ourselves away to prevent harm to all living creatures (even bacteria & viruses), he told us to WALK cheerfully OVER THE EARTH.

    In other words, get off your butt, and do something meaningful, useful, and purposeful for the change you want to see in the world (join an organization, protest nuclear arms/nuclear power, protest major carbon-producing industries, and lobby government to regulate same.

    Don’t lose your mind over adhering to small details that WON’T have any impact positive OR negative, in the big picture, or you’ll be lost in the “silly poor gospel” of the legalism Friends strayed into, that Margaret Fell tried so hard to fight against, when it was already too late.

    My thoughts. But then, I read too far too much of early Friends’ writings when I first got interested in the RSoF, which the modern incarnation seems to want to pretend never existed!

    Oh, and I’m also from a legalistic fundie background, so I’m definitely allergic to this mentality now…it brings me out in hives!!

  5. Oh, and that “thanks goodness for forgiveness” tagline wasn’t on that ad, when it aired in Canada; up here, the end of the ad shows the woods from the beginning of the ad, with the monk letting out a heart-rending wail. 🙂

  6. ‘Tis the season, apparently. I’ve been singing the locavore blues a bit myself, of late.

    Of course, the real question is, were any of those little voices in your head speaking for Spirit?

    Not that I mean we should disregard the promptings of our intellectual understandings of the global impact of our actions. But I think we both know how many Greyfaces there are out there, ready to preach an angry gospel at us about how blueberries (or SUV’s, or what have you) are ruining the planet.

    And they’re not wrong, exactly, But when our action is rooted in the promptings of Spirit, we’re much less likely to so piss off our neighbors with our self-righteousness that they go out and buy an SUV just to show us they can. And, more to the point, the action that is rooted in Spirit and in faithfulness becomes joyful, rather than guilt-ridden, and brings us closer to Spirit.

    The hard part, of course, is discerning the voice of Spirit from the voices of guilt, or of rationalization. (“But I _want_ the blueberries, dammit!”) I don’t know if any of us are really masters at it.

    I’m convinced, though, that those of us who are Friends should be working to get better at it.

    Sometimes, it’s OK to eat the out-of-season blueberries. Sometimes, it’s not. Consult the Inward Light for further information! *wry grin*

  7. Good point. It’s just one pint of blueberries. No biggie. (Hmm, but that lady over there is getting a pint, too, and so is that young man, and so is . . . )

    So how did we get into this mess with the ozone layer? You and I alone didn’t cause it, did we. It took lots and lots of people all thinking, “I’m not doing much damage; it’s just this one little thing,” and together—well, look at what’s happened. These “small details” have added up, and now we’re paying the price. Imagine the world your children and grandchildren are inheriting.

    Do we Quakers have a responsibility to put our much-touted beliefs about caring for the world we live in into action? How far did George Fox go in trying to introduce his neighbors to a new way of thinking and acting? You know the answer.

    Do the plastic utensils and Styrofoam plates and cups that we use once and casually throw away at a potluck after Meeting really matter? You know the answer to that, too.

    Norea, you might enjoy reading Cat C-B’s delightful post titled “Sinful Lettuce?” at Chestnut House:
    An Environmental Blog. What if we acted like the earth really mattered?

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