Saturday, September 19, 2009
Did you buy french beans beans or flowers this weekend?.....Did you see where they came from.....Did you care? Just look at the result! Just imagine if it was Britain, with water tankers being mobbed by folks desperate for water! Imagine if you will our countryside strewn with starving people and dying cows.....Of course it won't happen here will it?......most likely not to be honest, but neither should it be happening in Kenya. I went shopping in Sainsburys this morning and the African grown flowers and green beans are still there for us to buy and having seen the huge version of the above picture of dead and dying cows in the front of the Guardian yesterday I felt a huge rush of revulsion for a global market that insists that its ethical and fair to import green beans from a drought ridden country......Of course many argue that the bean(and other veg) growing improves lives, brings in foreign capital, uses less energy than freezing beans grown in Britain etc etc..........but at what cost to the lives of those cattle herders, and the Masai people, whose culture and nomadic life are almost at an end.....what of them? What of the cattle and goats that are dying....about 50% of Kenyas livestck are dead....the cost of a green bean or a red rose....thats what. We in the west, who cannot be bothered to salt our beans or preserve them by bottling, we who protest loudly about animal welfare ....... are stealing the lives of people..... mums, dads, grannies and grandads...... and little children by stealing their precious water to grow.......beans!
Progress, international trade, globalisation.....call it what you will its immoral!
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Its tough sometimes being a person with a sustainable environmental business because a lot of those who love to use the words and phrases environment, conservation, sustainable, green, save the world, get in touch with the earth, make a difference, transition to a new future etc find the word 'business' sits very uneasily with them.....now before you all bash me I know what the problem is or seems to be....businesses are seen as efficient, occasionally dishonest, pushy, low levels of morality, brash and just a bit to normal....
Maybe I have got it wrong? But its very interesting as I have come to these conclusions reluctantly through reactions to what I do by the folks who need to be the most supportive!
Lots of people want to 'come and pick my brains' about what I do, they come and visit the unit, often because they would like to be involved in a similar project....great! I don't mind chatting and telling it as it is!
Others have wanted to work with me, and a couple have for a bit but have found out that running an environmental business is not 'fluffy' .....that its hard work!
I often muse on why businesses that are very successful with terrifically high morals and ethics like Riverford and Cafe Direct are often criticized to death by the 'environmental types' and to be honest I just cannot understand it........they are very successful businesses.....is that the root of the problem? Do we all like an under dog, someone who tries but fails, a reason not to be successful, a reason to moan?........... I just don't know!
But its got me thinking a lot! .........and I think somehow its a British thing! We are not radical in an ordinary way......we like to look the part for the lifestyle we choose so an environmentalist is often seen as a person with hippy clothes and hair, several piercings, maybe a tattoo of something celtic..........but never as a bloke in a smart suit with a crisp shirt!!!
At home here we are possibly at our most sustainable but we look very ordinary.....too ordinary at times! I wear very boring normal clothes...most second hand. We shop very ordinarily in supermarkets and local shops but make a point of demanding local produce and buying nothing that is out of season or from the other side of the world. We drive.....and yes we have 3 cars....horror of horrors.....but we use them responsibly and for the purpose intended eg we do not use the 4x4 except for towing logs or livestock or wool!
We do not fly.....at all, and never will.....! We have a tv, the kids have an X box and a DS (those who are in the know will know what they are!) and we have computers.
We grow wood, veg, meat and reuse every last thing we can eg the cereal box insides are used to wrap the packed lunches.
I am not claiming sainthood but just pointing out we do not live in a yurt, a green wood building, nor an eco home, just a house.....we don't wear the 'right' clothes, we don't cycle everywhere because we cannot...BUT we want sustainable and ethical to be normal!
And when it comes to my business we want people to get involved.....come along and help for a day!