In December, 2002, we visited friends in Madison because we’re the idiots who think winter is the ideal time to travel to Wisconsin. One afternoon, we went to their local grocery to pick up a few supplies. Our friend selected a small kiwi.
“Now, I’m just curious,” J said. “Why would you pay twice as much for that one? This one is much bigger.” The friend mumbled some hogwash about a commitment to buying organic. J and I rolled our eyes at one another. First everyone was low fat, then they were low carb, and now the organic thing. Whatever.
We weren’t even sure what organic meant. Over the next two years, we began to learn and to shift our eating habits because it just seemed healthier to ingest only food with our food. By the time Zachary was born in 2004, we were trying to buy organic when possible, and we were very careful with what he ate.
After he was born, there was a fundamental shift in my world view. And by that I actually mean my view of the world. The planet. Whereas once the earth was a cool place to hang out for 90 or so years, it suddenly became the place he was going to have to live. And the place that would need to feed him, protect him, and provide a nifty little element commonly referred to as oxygen. The place where my grandkids would be born.
It was a planet choking from the fumes my car spat out, crowded with the trash I tossed, bedizened with bling I didn’t need, and seizing from the chemicals I put on my lawn or used to clean my clothes. Suddenly, it seemed like a crappy piece of land to inherit.
In these tough economic times, everyone is thinking twice before buying, but I have long been thinking thrice. Not just do I want it and can we afford it, but can the planet support it? My answer is most often “no.”
J thinks I am a fanatic, but he more or less goes along with my environmentalism because he knows I believe so strongly in the importance of protecting our children’s life support system. He does not necessarily disagree with me that if the human race doesn’t make some drastic changes, life could be pretty bleak for our kids. And by bleak I mean civilization eroding while the strongest among us slaughter the weak in order to hoard the few remaining drops of clean water. Read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower if you want to get the shit scared out of you.
J is a forest thinker. Whereas I see concepts in terms of myriad trees, he thinks in larger terms. And he just doesn’t think one family changing its ways is going to make a difference. He wants laws changed in order to make everyone comply. He doesn’t mind being inconvenienced for the greater good… as long as everyone else is, too.
That is why Earth Justice is one of our two charities. We don’t give to lots of different organizations because we’d spend forever researching. With the exception of sponsoring friends in various walk/run/bike/dogsled-athons, we give to only two charities. We also ask for and give donations in lieu of gifts. Most people pick Save the Children of the two, but I honestly wonder what good it does to medicate and feed the kiddos if the planet is going to be uninhabitable by the time they hit menopause.
So, I’m happy to send Earth Justice another donation in honor of the Just Posts retiring. I am long past the days when I would even consider buying any kind of kiwi in Madison in December, but Earth Justice is working to make everyone protect our world. These are people who litigate on behalf of my planet, the place that is going to need to feed my grandchildren, and I’ll take any excuse to support them. Because they are damned right: if anyone needs a good lawyer, it is the earth.
(And Happy Birthday, Jacob.)