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I’ve already talked about taking care of the environment as part of my motivation to try to homestead, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it more. That can bring up a highly polarized issue: global warming.

I’m going to be straight with you here. I don’t know exactly what I think of global warming. I definitely don’t know what I think about how much of it is caused by — and could therefore be stopped by — mankind. Frankly, I just haven’t done much research on it for myself, so I’m not going to try to offer an uneducated opinion. When you don’t have much of an opinion on a topic, it’s hardly motivation for a whole lifestyle.

Here’s what I do know, though, and it’s pretty indisputable regardless of opinions on global warming.

Smog in China can literally make people sick. Image from Huffington Post

Garbage in the ocean

I know that we use a lot of a resource that’s non-renewable (fossil fuels). Frighteningly, much of the world’s agriculture is dependent on this resource for growing, fertilizing, and transporting food. If we don’t look for more sustainable methods of agriculture, we’re going to have some real problems in the foreseeable future.

I know that we’re making a mess with garbage, especially plastics. I don’t even want to consider how much of the garbage could have been avoided with things like using reusable products instead of disposable plastic, companies creating more durable products instead of products “designed” to break within five years, and by simply recognizing that there are some things we just don’t need even if they’re more “convenient.” Not to mention how much garbage probably could have been recycled or composted instead. (Also, it bothers me a little that the proofreader didn’t recognize “composted” as a real word.)

I know that there are power and production alternatives available that have become widely used yet because, in part, big business and politics are put above stewarding our resources.

I know that not all companies practice ethical and sustainable logging practices, and its worse in some countries than others. While I recognize the value of wood resources, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that those resources be harvested ethically.

I know that we’re destroying and losing topsoil at alarming rates largely because of agricultural practices, not to mention destroying whole habitats and ecosystems for monocrop (corn, soy, wheat) agriculture.

I know that big business such as large-scale agricultural businesses tend to care more about making/growing and selling a product than about doing so ethically and safely. We as consumers should be bothered by being used like that.

I know that our food industry is not in a good place. A lot of what we’re sold can hardly be called “food,” much of it contains addicting amounts of sweeteners, and my above point applies to the production of much of it.

Do you know what else I know?

We don’t have to agree — or even have much of an opinion on — global warming to care about these things and their long-term effects.

We can create a movement of ethical and sustainable practices starting in our own homes, yards, and neighborhoods, and ask companies to do the same by speaking with our vote, our voices, and our dollars.

Unfortunately, I all too often see people who deny global warming also accept no responsibility for using resources wisely and responsibly and have little care about the world we live in and the effects we’re having on it. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I promise that you can scoff at global warming if you want to, but still throw your plastic and cardboard in the recycling instead of the garbage, keep a compost pile in your backyard, and care about ethical business practices and real food.

So, no, this isn’t really about global warming.

It’s about caring about the world that I live in and that my kids and grandkids are going to have to live in after I’m gone.

And if it turns out that global warming is actually happening, and that mankind is contributing a frightening amount, then living in a way that would mitigate that isn’t so bad either.

 

Note: After reading books like Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth, I’m not of the opinion that being a vegetarian/vegan is the solution for the bad agricultural and farming practices in industrialized countries like America. If you do hold that opinion, I respect that even though I disagree, but please don’t use the comments to vilify people who don’t embrace being vegetarian/vegan as the solution.

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