Garbage, rice and New York Times articles

My new local rice

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I am feeling pretty depressed about some things happening in Italy right now (garbage in Naples, cars avoiding the new fee for commuters entering Milan by driving on bike paths…), and the continually gloomy and rainy weather isn’t helping.

So I’m trying to perk myself up by thinking about the new rice my buying co-op just found recently and ordered last month. I make risotto a lot, or versions of risotto that I call “farrotto” (spelt), and “orzotto” (barley). I make my own vegetable broth from scraps I save in the fridge, and it’s always really good. So I was feeling puffed-up for awhile, feeling like maybe I am helping the world in my own little way with all my efforts to buy local, eat local, cook whole foods at home, turn off the lights, etc etc.

Then two things happened to burst my bubble.

One was an article from my mom’s collection of New York Time’s articles. Remember those? How happy I was about them. Yeah, well then I read this article. And it just kept eating away at me…

And then finally I figured out what was nagging at me, I put it together with something else I read a long time ago, source lost in the murky past, about how when people feel most powerless to effect change in the world they INVERT, and focus on private, much more personal efforts.

What does this mean? All those people like me, my friends, Shannon Hayes in the article, are we all just so frustrated with what we see around us and so dis-empowered that we convince ourselves that the most important work we can do is personal, and have faith that these intimate efforts will ripple out and change the world? Just because nothing else seems to work? Does all our time and energy spent doing things ourselves, all the rules and guidelines we give ourselves and struggle so hard to follow, does any of that have any value at all?

Can I justifiably be so happy with my rice?


One Response to “Garbage, rice and New York Times articles”

  1. alix Travis Says:

    Well, I might not argue that when times get bad one “inverts”. However, I think I concentrate on my individual efforts for a slightly different reason. I cannot control, or even barely influence, the bigger picture. However, I can do my individual part. It will not save the world but it does keep it from getting worse than it would be if I yelled but did nothing.

    One does see change. I have been “organic” since before I married, in 1971. I was really fringe AND one could not buy a single project in the regular grocery store. Think of the US now. I may not like the large commercial enterprises that are entering the business (I don’t trust them) but it still is a lot of fields that have not had noxious chemical fertilizers put on them.

    It always comes down to one’s perspective: is the glass 1/2 empty of 1/2 full.

    Love, mother

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