Rich Enough to Care to Bond over Compost

Lascaux circa 15,000 B.C.

According to the International Energy Agency, dangerous climate change will be essentially irreversible by 2017.

Every sixth grade American kid learns Early Man had a lot to do just to get by. No one sat around painting or philosophizing. If you did, you died. So the women gathered food and the men hunted. If all went well, the clan hit all the food groups by dinnertime. There was no time for TV. No time for art.  At night, before Early Man conked out on the cave floor, he probably thought about where he might find aurochs and she planned on where to pick grass shoots.

Flash forward. Before Modern Man passes out on his mattress in his heated, cable-connected bedroom, what does he think about? Does she worry cancer-causing chemicals might taint her groceries? Does he focus on his carbon footprint and buying local? Perhaps, like Early Man, most Americans can’t afford to care too much about “luxuries” like the environment.

I’m no heiress, but I have a fridge full of nutritious food. And unlike my ancestors, I have time before I fall asleep to worry if I’m seriously mucking things up for the next guys.

I live in California, which happens to have ideal weather for farmers. It’s a snap to buy local here, but it’s not impossible for folks elsewhere to do the same. Granted, come Thanksgiving you’ll be eating a lot of rhubarb and I can still snack, guilt-free on strawberries. The goal is to avoid buying food, which had to be trucked a distance, or worse, flown in, because all that transportation adds to dangerous climate change.

Whole Foods and other specialty markets offer local and organic food and, yup, it can cost you. Consider a chat with your supermarket manager about organic options. Need more motivation?

Okay. Picture a sprayer full of poison…ripe, red strawberries on your dessert plate glistening with methyl iodide. Then imagine your kid biting into one!



Speaking of kids, my son recently earned the Boy Scout Gardening Merit Badge. In exchange for a sunny corner of our garden, he brings peppers, pumpkins, soybeans, tomatoes and other good stuff to the table.

It may seem weird to bond over garbage, but we admire the red worms converting coffee grounds and other waste into rich earth. Don’t ask me what my kid saves us dollar-per-dollar, but I have a better appetite knowing the stuff he grows isn’t tainted with chemicals and I didn’t have to drive anywhere to get them.

How can we make the leap so that everyone cares about lightening the load on earth? How can we rise above the daily grind and make it matter to take responsibility to change our lifestyles?

Is getting rich the answer?

If Gold Cards inspire you to don gardening gloves, cool. The thing is, some of the wealthiest people I know are also the busiest. They don’t have more time than the guy working three jobs a day. Maybe, despite our economic crisis and lack of free time, you find yourself caring deeply about earth.

If so, you’re probably related to the artist who painted the first horse on a cave wall in France. Around 40,000 B.C., modern humans replaced Neanderthals across continental Europe. They created the earliest art. It is still considered a revolution.

The artists of the Lascaux paintings are long gone.  Isn’t it about time for our own higher-thinking revolution?

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 2 comments. Add yours

  1. 22nd February 2012 | ChristinaB says: Reply
    What a great role model for your adorable son. :) You're such a positive force in the BH community!
  2. 3rd February 2012 | Mom says: Reply

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