A Little Change
I saw this story linked on a friend’s Facebook today, and it reminded me of a blog post I’ve had in the back of my brain for a while now. We’re making some positive changes in the Cordle household, and I want to just brag on us a little.
Last year was my first year teaching AP English. Those four students I finished the year with will always be very special to me, and I often feel like I learned as much from them as they did from me. We read eight books together, most of which were nonfiction. When we got to Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation the class became very interesting. I read that book in college with a very blasé attitude: yeah, the content sort of bothered me, but making changes was just too difficult. Well, when I read it again last year – ten years later – it totally unnerved me. On top of that, I was taking a graduate course in Ecocriticism which touched on many ethical and environmental issues as well.
What surprised me more than anything, though, were my students’ reactions to the book. I really thought that those hamburger and french fry loving kids would really discredit the argument altogether. I could not have been more wrong. They were very affected by it, and the source of our food became a very hot topic in class for weeks.
The entire time I was teaching and guiding them, I felt a sort of hypocrisy. I was discussing these things with them and urging them to be good global citizens, not to mention responsible Christians, while not really doing much of that myself in terms of what I was consuming.
So Ryan and I started talking.
The big issue for us is always money. I always fall into that trap of, “Yeah, well, I’d love to make better food choices but the better stuff costs too much!” I don’t really know what happened exactly, but somewhere along the line Ryan helped me see that we just needed to make it happen.
And so we have. We found a local farm just a couple of miles from our home which does a meat CSA program. Every month now we get the bulk of our meat from this CSA. And it makes me so freaking excited. I know that we are making substantially healthier choices by doing this, but that’s not even the best part. For me, it just feels so nice to be eating local meat and literally supporting our neighbors.
Sometimes I get really discouraged about the state of the world, particularly in those moments when I take myself seriously as someone educating the next generation of leaders. I tend to cynically think that nothing will ever change, the world will continue to go downhill rapidly as big business drains our souls. But then I realize that at least I can do my part. At least I can make decisions for myself and my family which I feel are ethically sound. At least that will help me rest a bit easier at night.
I’m fully-aware that I sound like a big old white-person cliche as I eat my grass-fed beef, wear my TOMS, and drink my Rwandan coffee, but I guess I’m past the point of caring. The older I get, the more I feel like everyone making small, conscious decisions in their daily lives will make the difference.