Monday, April 6, 2009
Better to do Something than Nothing - but don't expect people not to complain
McDonald's, normally known for Super Sizing everything, is apparently trying to make a change. They are looking at taking steps to reduce pesticide use in their potatoes (fries for those who are locked on fast-food thought). Though they're the largest purchaser of potatoes in the US they don't grow their own potatoes, meaning the company will ask suppliers like ConAgra and J.R. Simplot to cut down pesticide use. This could have an effect of shaking up potato crops across the nation grown buy these suppliers.
Now, I'm not one to say that eating at McDonald's, or any fast-food chain, is good for you. It isn't. I'm not saying anything about what truly motivates this change. I'm saying something is better than nothing.
I learned about this move from reading this article: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/mcdonalds-fries-to-go-pesticide-free.html
Here is what has gotten my proverbial panties in a bunch:
* "I don’t care how you fry it up. Eating deep-fried organics is not healthy. You could eat sticks of organic butter all day long, but you’re not gonna get any thinner, folks." - from the comment about the health impacts this change could have, as well as the impact on local farmers and so on. -- OK, no deep-fried food ISN'T healthy for you, you're right there. BUT - organic deep-fried food IS a better/healthier choice than pesticide ridden food (which potatoes are notorious for absorbing). It's a step in the right direction.
* "On the other hand, if a corporate giant like Mickey D’s forces more companies to go organic, it could help the market considerably. Not to mention the environment. Then again, it could also devalue the work and value of organic farmers and undercut their prices." -- Yes, industrial farming is bad, even when it is industrial organic farming (somehow that seems to be worse for the self-promoting green-ness/goodness). BUT, again, it's a step in the right direction. It's a start.
Look, as much as we may want it to happen, fast-food chains, pre-packaged foods, mega-box stores and so on are NOT going to go away!! At least not anytime in the immediate future. But they can get better. Little steps are better than no steps. Making an effort is better than not giving a damn at all.
And, the majority of people are still very naive &/or ignorant when it comes to trying to live sustainably, live healthy, and be eco-friendly. They've been raised on and bought into the society we live in, which isn't a healthy one: for ourselves or for the Earth.
But, just as you can't teach a child to read overnight, you can't educate (and expect immediate results) the general public overnight. And, most certainly, holier-than-thou eco-nazis who slam anything that can be perceived as good but comes from "evil" companies (McDonald's DOES have a bad, bad track record) end up cutting their noses to spite their face. How can someone possibly be good enough, much less motivated to try and do more, when they're constantly condemned for everything that they aren't doing??
Drive past a McDonald's around meal-times and see how long the drive-thru lines are, see how full the parking lot is too. Most likely, THOSE are the people who need the most "enlightenment". So rather than berating them, insulting them, and making them feel humiliated and overwhelmed, why not encourage them? "Did you know McDonald's is trying to give up pesticides in their potatoes" -- this line alone could open up a wonderful discussion as to why that is a good thing, why & how pesiticides are bad for our health as well as the Earth, and possibly encourage them to think about this when at the grocery store, maybe even encourage them to grow their own organically. The possibilities are endless!!! Unless you start out with hate and disgust, in which case I will personally shove a super-sized Mc-Something up your hoity-toity ass.
I'm tired of being looked at like I'm crazy when I tell people I brought my own bag (though this isn't the case so much anymore), or that I raise chickens, or that we're planting veggies in the front flower beds instead of the typical suburban-approved landscaping. I'm also tired of people like Veronica, who are have gone so far the other direction that they criticize you for eating meat at all (heaven forbid you kill it yourself!), not walking everywhere, not re-stocking your house with completely fair-trade and recycled materials from top to bottom and every drawrer, closet, and what not in between! Either I'm too green for the neighborhood or I'm not green enough for the uber-greenies.
Where did common compassion go? Where did the ability to say "it's a step in the right direction" go? The ability to say that previous statement, even if you personally wouldn't eat there for a million bucks?
I say, if you're in the boat with Veronica, then truly you're as bad as the people and companies you hate. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Even if it is McDonald's.