Sunday, June 2, 2013

Persons or people

photo of out buildings as Amadore Hill
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for visiting. Soon I'll be seeing the buildings in the picture in person each week from June 13 through the second week of October. We have a Community Supported Agriculture share with the Women's Environmental Institute at Amador Hill. Since it offers a realistic excuse to travel some of the back roads of Chisago County, we opted for the pick up at the farm option. I volunteered to drive. I think this qualifies as part of our response to Gary Snyder's “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” This is the kind of aphorism that seems so simple until you try to apply it. (Actually, if I were having a conversation with Snyder about this, he'd probably tell me I was over-analyzing, as I all too often do.) Let's start from the beginning, with the idea, borrowed from a Stephen Stills song, that if you can't be in the place you love, love the place you're in. Our place on the planet these days, for each and every one of us, is wherever it is we happen to be each and every day. Furthermore, when I think of the phrase "dig in," I'm immediately reminded of Thanksgiving, or Sunday dinner each week, when the feast is upon the table and the invitation is to "dig in." (I like this image better than an alternative that involves foxholes or trench warfare.) Life on this earth can often be feast-like for all of us if we work together, share equitably and integrate, rather than dominate, natural processes. Taking responsibility is something that each and every person needs to do on a more regular basis. That would also include global corporate persons, each of which is dependent on a number of particular places. Now that the Supreme Court has determined that corporations are persons with the right to free speech, perhaps it will soon decide that limited liability for management and stockholders isn't really compatible with free speech. Or perhaps we will live long enough to see corporations (but not necessarily their stockholders) subject to a death penalty for the corporate equivalent of treason or murder. If ordinary persons are liable for destroying a person or place, why should not corporate persons, deemed to have the same right of free speech as natural persons, be held similarly accountable? If, as Tip O'Neil once said, all politics is local, wouldn't all accountability also be local? If so, then have we reached a strangely out-of-whack world where even our local food coops sell out of season fruit and produce at prices that make them staples rather than luxuries? I would suggest that this isn't entirely responsible behavior. One the other hand, I don't want to come across as if I think the best way to be responsible is to dig in and don sackcloth and ashes. Many options, like CSAs, farmer's markets, and other sources of locally grown foods (kitchen gardens anyone?) make for a better life in a better community by being more tasty, nutritious and contributing more to the local economy and ecology (that sucking sound you hear is profits leaving the local community). As John Elder notes in the current issue of The Sun, we need to learn to "throw a better party." Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.