Enviro FootprintApparently, McDonald’s and General Motors cut a new deal that would allow McDonald’s to provide new toy Hummer with every happy meal! I still don’t understand why someone would want to drive such a huge beast. I mean seriously it’s a military vehicle the size of a bus…I’ll take my bike to go please. Sure not feasible for everyone to ride a bike and I agree with that fact. But is it all that feasible for everyone to drive hummers around the planet? The Auto Asthma Index states that “The 2006 Hummer H2 emits 28x more harmful volatile organic compounds that threaten the health of asthma sufferers than the cleanest SUVs on the road.” [Sign the petition to get them to stop distributing these in Crappy Meals! ]

I read this interesting analysis in The Rebel Sell: Why the culture can’t be jammed by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter [Note: I didn’t actually like most of this book, but I think they had a point about consumer purchasing habits.] Essentially, they were stating the fact that people in specific class structures (referring to middle class people) will always try and deviate themselves from others by purchasing something extravagant or different that sets them apart. Ironically, I witnessed this in McKenzie Towne which is a middle-class community located in suburbia-land SE of Calgary. I lived there for quite a few years and it’s community that can only be afforded by middle to middle-upper class individuals. People tended to differentiate themselves in that community by owning a hummer. It was like a pride statement that not only could they afford the house, but they could also afford a big tank of a machine. It’s tragic that as a society we are so driven by differentiating ourselves based on materialistic things that at the end of the day don’t mean much.

Friend's Don't Let Friend's Eat at McD'sI mean we are in the 21st Century here the last time I checked. We should be judging people based on what they have to offer, who they are inside, and so much more (everyone’s unique in that sense to which is so rad). We don’t need all this excess because ultimately it’s not going to mean much in (choose your own adventure) reincarnation, afterlife, death, or something else. Interestingly enough, last night I went to see “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” with Kelsey (woot woot thanks for goin yo!) at the Calgary International Film Festival. It was amazing to learn about how Cuba reacted to a massive loss in oil imports when the Soviet Union became completely extinct in the 1990’s. It forced the people to return to some more traditional ways in order to survive including setting up urban gardens, growing produce in farms just outside of city centres, and not using pesticides (as they couldn’t import anymore into the country either). I was really fascinated and impressed with the permaculture and other techniques they were using! They commented on the fact that their soil was rich in nutrients, full of worms (yah WORMS), and how farmers had become one of the highest paid people in the country as a result. It’s an interesting thought really…lot’s of people go into the grocery store today, pick out food, pay for them, pack them up, and leave without thinking about where that’s come from.

What we need to do as a conscious society is to think about our impacts more I think. Meaning that if we want to sustain good agriculture and support farmer’s we should try and buy local produce as often as we can. It has two effects essentially 1) Food doesn’t travel as far to your plate and thus reducing emissions in the world 2) Local farmer’s can stay in business. I try to hit up my local farmer’s markets as often as I can because I want the farmer’s around Calgary to keep on making stuff for me to eat (even if sometimes it’s not organic because maybe at some point they’ll change to organic!). If you’re at a grocery store check out where that apple is coming from…you’d be surprised sometimes to find out how far it’s travelled. Even more ironic is that most of the food we eat can be grown in Canada (of course this excludes most tropical food like pineapples, bananas, etc.).

Hope everyone has a really rad day!