It’s been wonderful to have this rain. I can literally see the plants rejoicing. Had the thrill of a little lightening show last night, too, as flashes illuminated clouds in both the eastern and northwest skies.
Spent several hours yesterday cleaning and cooking taro, then peeling and grinding it into poi in a Champion juicer. My friend Kaimi and I used to show kids how to pound poi the old fashioned way when we ran the educational program at a taro farm in Hanalei, but this was my first venture with a juicer. It worked really well, and now I’ve got fresh poi to share around.
As I processed the taro, listening to Country Comfort, Gabby, Olomana and the rain, I thought of how much our eating habits have changed since I was a kid. Cooking from scratch is almost an anomaly these days, as is cooking in a group, and so much of what we eat is heavily processed garbage imported from elsewhere.
I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat locally, as I think that is one cornerstone of sustainable living. I read the other day that Kauai cattlemen are shipping beef off-island because they don’t have a big enough market here on-island. Yet even locally-owned grocery stores like Big Save sell only mainland beef.
It seems to me that mainland and local beef is competitively priced, and the local meat, which is pasture fed rather than raised in those disgusting factory farm/feed lot set ups, has a far superior taste. It’s healthier, too, since it’s not so fatty.
Yesterday’s post about the fallacies of our endless growth approach to economics generated a comment from blogger Aaron Stene challenging me, and others who complain about over-development, “to look in mirror (sic) and come up with alternatives to the current unsustainable economic forces.”
OK, eating locally, and learning to like what can be grown easily in your own community, is one. But the most important first step is to change your consciousness, starting with the idea that growth is inevitable and good.
I became interested in ecology and environmental economics some 30 years ago when I was fortunate to have some akamai college professors. One of the most influential books I read is “Toward a Steady-State Economy,” edited by Herman Daly.
I pulled it off the shelf last night and found it’s just as cogent and applicable today as when I first read it. In future posts, I’ll share more from it, but let’s start with this, from an essay by Herman Daly:
“’Growthmania” is an insufficiently pejorative term for the paradigm or mind-set that always puts growth in first place — the attitude that there is no such thing as enough, that cannot conceive of too much of a good thing.
“Growthmania is the attitude in economic theory that begins with the theological assumption of infinite wants, and then with infinite hubris goes on to presume that the original sin of infinite wants has its redemption vouchsafed by the omnipotent savior of technology, and that the first commandment is to produce more and more goods for more and more people, world without end. And that this is not only possible, but desirable.
“The growth paradigm has outlived its usefulness. It is a senile ideology that should be unceremoniously retired into the history of economic doctrines…. What will the new paradigm be? This idea is that of the steady state economy.
“The world is finite, the ecosystem is a steady state. The human economy is a subsystem of the steady-state ecosystem. Therefore at some level and over some time period the subsystem must also become a steady state, at least in its physical dimensions of people and physical wealth.
“Such a policy is radical, but less radical than attempting the impossible, i.e., growing forever.”