Monday, August 11, 2008

adopt a ghetto

I've just started learnin myself about carbon offsets. I'm not sure it totally makes sense to me, but I have a lot more reading, thinking, and discussing that to figure out where it stands in the realm of going green & greenwash. (It seems weird that something like caring about a living world is now the "in" thing to do, a trendy style, openly discussed in public places, and there's so much weirdness, both excitement and head shaking in that area for me, but I digress.) I can see how pumping money into a living economy, a living religion, a living education, which is a healthy community, a vibrant culture, can be viewed as "saving the world". Obviously, it is a step into a new life, but ultimately it is our souls that transform this place, not our imaginary money. So, yeah, a lot for me to think about.

So we're in Springfield, one of the many. Springfield is a weird vortex type place, as anyone who has lived here & has tried to escape can attest. However, I have currently lived in this town longer than almost any other, so I am going native. I have to say, my community is a beautiful place. The people around here are real. I mean, they get community; they're good people. A lot of people have problems--everyone everywhere does, despite the drugs/medication--but a lot are still good at heart.

Land is cheap here, and the idea of community gardens has sprung forth. The food not lawns group in Springfield creates this great connection of wise & talented, passionate gardeners who are into far more than gardening--most are seeking a world of caring, beauty, and health. I see visions of paradise, as clearly as I can feel the life beneath my feet. I'm trying to understand what carbon offsets feels to me. I think finding the money to buy up vacant land in the ghetto and sowing gardens and beauty everywhere is worth my time and energy, although cash I have not.

Land at the last tax auction was $600 per lot, minimum bid. Most went for the minimum price, and the crowd had thinned noticeably when the southeast side went up. Some lots have houses, but many are just open grass lots. Bioremediation obviously would have to play a big part in this idea, growing plants that remove toxins from soil & render it healthy. I am thinking about orchards with benches, edible landscaping, green space, native flower gardens, full of education, beauty, outreach, caring. It seems beautiful in my mind.

I am, of course, trying to do something like this in my own yard. It is slowly but surely happening. There's a gorgeous small pile of tomatoes on my table (the first!), with Cherokee purples, brandywines, and old Germans. Flowers are blooming. It's hard to find something to complain about when you've had nothing but mild temperatures & 15 extra inches of rain. We've planting dwarf fruit trees, and some regular sized. Next is planting around that in nut bushes, herbs, and flowers. It's going to be a beautiful place for my grandkids. And to think our whole neighborhood could be like that, for all the little kids growing up in the ghetto today.

I have been doing nothing but observe, observe, and observing since the permaculture course last summer. My eyes have truly opened. The diversity of bugs, animals, plants--it's just amazing. We moved back here after being away for a couple of years, and arrived a few days after Christmas. In March was the tornado that went above our house, followed by many crazy months of hauling heavy stuff (piles of branches, roofing, etc.) & fixing stuff. Followed by an ice storm, followed by a few deaths in the family, followed by getting the mature trees taken down, and now we have arrived at the homestead that is beginning to take place. The yard has transformed, really our whole neighborhoods have transformed--the succession of land, people, and time. There's a lot more open space, a lot greater insect, bird and mammal variety, more prey and predators. It's been deepening to observe the change in our habitat as well as in our selves.

I took one of those how "sustainable" do you live quizzes (there's another word that has been filled with crap by advertising/greenwashing/the spend a buck assuage guilt lifestyle), and I scored as living on one earth, except for my eating habits. Not that I really give a crap what the numbers tell me, but I scored 1.7 earths for my food consumption. I think it was my higher meat/eggs consumption, which are so local and informal they haven't passed through any grocery store. The Sally Fallon way of looking at nutrition is not exactly "green" in the popular viewpoints of vegetarians and feedlots, but when your friends raise animals naturally in ways you can respect and even enjoy, my goodness, that changes the numbers. (And to think, I live a lifestyle that is almost sustainable, according to a website that crunches numbers. I have soooooo much more to do before I would feel comfortable considering myself living a sustainable lifestyle.)

Our main problems in eating an abundance of farm fresh naturally raised animals/products are that buying healthy food is hard to do in a city, we don't own a car to get out to a farm, and also most local farms do not take food stamps, which makes up the bulk of our food budget. The government doesn't want you to buy local organic food on their tab! Well, not that that is their intent, it just happens to be the practical result of giving our responsibilities of ourselves & our communities over to the government subsidized by corporate America. And you know when you start ranting about the government and corporations, it's time to stop typing.

All right, so adopt a ghetto. I am adopting mine.



Green Topaz said...

You can get free carbon offsets here:

abby said...

I'm adopting Guatemala. :D

donald423 said... is pretty funny. read the faq & look at teh certificates page. props.

sharqi said...

That was kind of my feeling about carbon offsets. Funny indeed.