Thursday, February 5, 2009

Taking back the power

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to say since I revived it a week ago. I started it last year, with the simple idea of creating a chronicle of our experiences growing our own produce, and cooking and preserving it.

Since then, I’ve read and thought a lot. I’ve started to see that simple acts like growing your own vegetables, for instance, are significant decisions. I asked myself, why do we do this anyway? The more I thought about my answers the more I saw they all boiled down to Taking Back the Power.

What power? The power to control our lives and make our own decisions. To not be beholden to faceless industry, and be complicit in their decisions about how the world is run.

To illustrate: say, for example, you normally buy lettuce at a Woolworths or Coles (the big two supermarkets in Australia, who between them control 80% of the food market). Your purchase of that lettuce means that you are implicitly supporting a system that is environmentally questionable in terms of food miles and growing methods, and typically has meagre returns for the farmer involved. Grow your own lettuce, and you take back your power - you control how that lettuce is grown, how much fuel is used to grow and transport it (ie. none). You control what sort of lettuce you will eat and when you will eat it. You control the production of that lettuce from seed to plate.

There best part is that there is nothing anyone can do to take the control from you.

Imagine if everyone grew something as small as their own lettuces. What a message that would send. What an amazing change that alone would bring.

Extend this now to other actions: other food we buy, clothes we wear, what we do for entertainment, how we transport ourselves.

We have to start believing in and exercising our own power, because that is where real change in this world will happen. Over time, we have been programmed to expect our governments to act in our best interests, and time and again, we are disappointed. Look at how governments around the world are fumbling around with solutions to the climate crisis. And what is the current financial crisis but a huge failure of government to protect the interest of the majority its people?

The unfortunate truth is that governments and the people who run them may have good intentions, but really, their priority is to get re-elected.

Whew! It may seem to some there is a huge leap from growing lettuces to changing how world government works? Not at all. In small actions, that you and I can make, we reclaim the power of people and can effect change.

So where does that leave me with my spades and spoons, and this blog?

The way I see it, every time I grow something, cook something for myself, preserve, attend to my budget, reuse something, recycle, sew, or mend I becoming more powerful. I have the power to say “yes” to the things that nurture me, my family, my community and my country. I have the power to say “no” to things that diminish life.

When I blog about those small, seemingly inconsequential actions, hopefully I am encouraging others to feel and use their own power.

That, in nutshell, is what this blog is about.


Linda said...

In Victoria with such strong water restrictions sometimes I get discouraged. At the moment at our new house we could water as much as we like, however, it does cost. But we like our flowers and vegetables are just an extension of watering our flowers and lawn.

Paola said...

Linda, I guess in times of water restrictions it really is a matter of making priorities, isn't it? I like my flowers too and like to make sure they are well watered as well.

Keltie said...

just wanted to say i found your blog through Kathryn Elliot and i love what you are doing and saying. i am so with you re: lettuce power :) like someone else much cleverer than me said, growing your own has become an act of subversion. bring it on! look forward to following your thoughts.

Paola said...

Thanks for dropping by, Keltie. Although my posts may not for the most part be as bolshie as these, they are all motivated by these thoughts. Hope to you drop around again...