Puppies and bunnies and carnivorous eco-curmudgeons
Carl M via flickrThose of you following our last post (Should Kuba Have a Puppy?) can see that both votes and comments on this question are running 9 to 1 in favor of the gratification of pet ownership. This is even though eco-curmudgeon Ken has made the point, with hard statistics, that keeping domestic animals essentially ensures the death of wild creatures that we would all heartily agree to preserve (indirectly, through habitat loss and overuse of resources).
Well, the JP Green House is meant to be a demonstration project. We aim to build a zero-carbon house on a low budget, grow veggies and raise chickens for eggs, cut our consumption to a level sustainable for the planet, and make it all public. This means full transparency of finances, building dilemmas, relationship agonies, parenting fiascos, and just the overall messiness of the thing. (Quick house and garden update: Foundation finished, windows and insulation are next, debating exterior options, many radishes, one pumpkin, fabulous dahlias, still short 50k.)
How does the utopian vision jibe with the fact that Kuba wants a puppy, the reality that Ken bought a motorcycle last week, the admission that I am writing this on a 95-degree day in Boston with my window AC blasting?
Are we a demonstration of hypocrisy? Or the immense difficulty of living within our earthly means? I’m afraid we’re bound to reveal it all.
Fellow climate-organizer A., who does not own a car and rides his bicycle 12 miles from a prosperous Boston suburb to protests and meetings in our neighborhood, is one of the most sincere environmentalists I know. He writes brilliantly about the failures of major green groups to reckon with the true implications of climate change. He rants inappropriately at meetings, and never avoids calling people on their lifestyle failures. He’s more of a crank than Ken (and that’s saying something). And he smells a little funny.
A. enjoys bugging people. Last week out of the blue he responded to an email I sent from work about the economic crisis by accusing me of ignoring the true ecological disaster. Do you always address people you barely know this way? I snapped back. Basically, his answer was yes. In contrast, I try to walk a tightrope on which I avoid offending anyone by openly criticizing their consumption. I know I might regret my general affability and politeness in twenty years. Geez, we were all too busy to go to those climate protests and write our Congressman before Greenland melted…
I’ll leave you with all this hypocrisy, unresolved in my own mind.
But now for our next poll. I was over at Sue’s house around the corner, today, drinking my third cup of coffee and bitching grandly about the past week, which has just been a slugfest for me, when I came up with a brilliant new question.
“How do you think the neighborhood would react if we raised rabbits for food?” I asked Sue. “I love rabbit–we used to eat it in Europe a lot. Delicious with garlic and spinach.”
“Around here?! I don’t think so. You’ll have all the vegetarians and vegans picketing by the front door.”
“Really? Do people realize where store-bought meat comes from?” I launched into a tirade about factory farming and got the evil eye from Sue, while her ten-year-old daughter turned pale across the room. (Point of fact: Our family is omnivorous, but we currently buy only meat raised humanely and organically on a local farm. We eat it with relish, however, the blood running down our chins. Also, I wish I had a picture of the day Eli ate a raw baby octopus, with the tentacles hanging from his mouth.)
So, the JP Green House question of the week is: Should we raise cute fuzzy bunny rabbits and slaughter them for their meat? Should we make moccasins and baby booties from their skins, sell rabbits-foot keychains for good luck, so as not to waste any usable byproducts?
Well why the heck not? Cause it’s mean?
More stories in this series:
The intro question for the first gathering of 350.org activists in Massachusetts early this month was, “How do you feel, personally, about climate change?” Having worked on the agenda, I should have been prepared — but it still stumped me. …
Editor’s note: This month, Grist contributor Ken Ward and his partner Andrée Zaleska begin chronicling their conversion of a rundown, 100-year-old store into a green home that serves as both family living quarters and a public space for climate activism, …
In May of 2008, the property at 133 Bourne St., Boston, Massachusetts was purchased from HBHC Bank by myself and Ken Ward. Ninety-nine years old at the time, it had long served the neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale as …
Left behind.coldcolours via flickrIt’s Sunday on Bourne Street. I am weeding at the JP Green House, furious at the reappearance of the Dog Strangling Vine that we battled hard last summer. A pernicious creeping vine, it takes over any neglected …
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