Two ways to consume

The debate goes on back here. It’s been a thoughtful – and helpful I think – discussion on the environment, hippies, and sustainability.  Join in. If you like.

One of my objections to paying a premium to be green is that it seems like such a waste of money. For example, I don’t like that chickens live in terrible conditions in battery farms. But I like eggs. So I must buy eggs. Do I, when faced with this conundrum (and being unable to have my own chickens because we live in a townhouse):

a) Buy free range in the hope that this will stimulate the market for free range eggs and eventually remove the premium price we pay to soothe our conscience.


b) Save that money, buy the battery eggs and use the difference to pay for things I think matter more. Like giving money to support the work of my church.

I lean towards b. I think there are much better causes to resource. I like that the free market lets me make that decision, and doesn’t dictate the terms of my charity to me through levies and stupid taxes.

Which is why I don’t like emissions trading. Or the Green movement. They have no sympathy for that idea. They want their special interest to be everyone’s special interest. I have blogged about this before. In ranty fashion. Here. And Here. This little quote from  sums up what the dissonance I feel when it comes to the central green argument:

“Apparently our biggest problems are land clearing, extinct bird species, salinity and greenhouse gas emissions… and that my friends is why I hate hippies.”

That’s a quote that has stood the test of time.

Anyway, I didn’t start this post to quote myself – but rather to quote this guy, from a really interesting blog I subscribed to today:

“My grocery bill from Safeway, where I buy Nestle products and pesticide infused produce is 50% cheaper than my bill from a socially conscious store like Whole Foods, Mother’s Market or PCC.  While being committed to shopping in socially conscious ways, I am also committed to spending less. Savings on a grocery bill can be given to the Aid and Assistance Fund at church, go to help purchase backpacks for less fortunate students at my kids’ school, or be sent to my favorite non-profit organization in South Africa, Ithemba Lethu.