What could be more relaxing...... Planning, dreaming and then finally planting a garden? Sitting for an afternoon cup of tea? Making your own herbal remedies? Making a facial steam and scrub from foods in your pantry? Being a steward of land that is to be kept a little wild? Anyone who is interested in nature, organic gardening or a simple, natural lifestyle has thought of or done any one or all of these things. Is it enough? Is taking care of your own family or your own land in a sustainable manner the fulfillment of your responsibilities? Or...is it too easy to fall into a self-satisfied, isolationist point of view?
Several news reports have caught my eye recently. I have been a lifelong environmentalist, a vegetarian since I was 16, only use natural products for housekeeping, self care and foods and have volunteered and donated money to several environmental organizations because it is obvious we need to take care of the earth in general terms. But, it is the small details, the things you may never think of that are the "canaries in the mine" that we need to pay attention to, as it might bring the whole pressing need for fast and intensive environmental action more down to earth for us and thereby spur each of us to realize that what we do on many levels.......matters. There have been numerous articles written about the effects of global warming on the quality of the tea we drink. To many, that may not mean much. For the occasional tea drinker or the majority who will never know the difference between Assam and Earl Grey---who cares? Apparently, tea growers in India have noticed that rising temperatures and more rain have lessened the equality of the tea leaves, making them lack in flavor and reducing crop outputs, causing price increases of around 10%. A seemingly small temperature increase of 3.6% over the last 80 years has caused more monsoons, less available sun, less viable plants and now is also affecting tea growing related jobs in India.
So you don't drink tea....and who cares what happens half a world away in the tea industry? What happens to one, is happening to all and does affect us all, wherever we may be. Global Warming is with us. The farmers here in Central New York are worried over the constant rain this spring that has caused a 2-3 week delay in plowing and planting. 2-3 weeks in the course of farming is a huge amount of time, the loss of which will affect jobs and food prices........and what the tea articles are pointing out, but no one else seems to be acknowledging.......the QUALITY of the foods we eat, which of course, eventually will affect our general health. Those of us in the natural health field and organic gardening know that what "We are what we eat". Health starts with nutrition. Already, over the years, with poor farming practices, foods do not contain the amount of nutrients they once did. Medicinal herb growers know that good quality herbs are not over fed or over watered--they may look very nice, but are not as medicinally potent----nor are they as good for culinary purposes. They don't contain the proper mix of nutrients, they do not keep as well and the plants themselves are not healthy or sustainable. For meat eaters, the plants fed animals to make nutritious meats is lacking as well. Sometimes by deliberate acts and sometimes by neglect or inaction, we are allowing our basic life/health giving plants and animals to decline...to our own peril.
The ridiculous argument that seems to do nothing but feed political ideologies as to whether Global Warming is man made or a natural cycle, is a false one. The real issue is that we are in a warming phase now--for whatever reason and we do know that many things we humans do can cause some types of pollution or contribute to making it worse. Wasting time fighting over who is to blame doesn't change the fact that we have a problem that no one denies. However, there are those who for various reasons, do not or will not see that changing food values have that much affect on us, or lead to more diseases, or can gradually drive food prices up too much, or make water a scarce commodity everywhere. Somehow, we have to overcome that impediment and realize that what each one of us does, every day matters. What we eat, products we use, general lifestyle choices...MATTERS. The things we ignore, let go, allow our governments to postpone...MATTERS. Growing and eating your own organic foods so your family is strong is important--but it is pointless as we do not live in isolation. We all have to work very hard to contribute to the health of those tea plants in India, the way beef is raised in Brazil, the way eggs are produced.......EVERYTHING MATTERS.