Cody H plantboy@gmail.com
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 12:36:24 PST
Thanks Tim for your reasonable response.

On the topic of discussion in general, I would like to remind everyone that
reasonable, respectful discussion is valuable. It allows people to share
ideas, and we can all learn from each other’s different perspectives and
knowledge. There is no topic in existence for which it is true to say that
any single person knows everything there is to know about it. I like the
PBS list because for the most part, reasonable and respectful discussion
has been the norm here for the past few years during which I have followed
the list.

On the topic of ecological sustainability, there are many things which
frequently go unmentioned. For instance, the ecological and social costs to
developing nations of producing goods at competitive rates and prices for
demanding first world markets, or the costs of shipping those products
thousands of miles to reach those markets. There are very high ecological
costs to manufacturing a huge number of products that we in rich developed
countries take for granted (cars, appliances, electronics, materials for
the home, furniture, clothing, paper products, etc.).

I cannot nor would I try to claim that I have a made a set of superior
choices to anyone else in this or any other group, but I do try to make
responsible choices to the extent I see reasonable. That involves
attempting to buy mostly local produce, buying organic products as much as
I can afford to, happily paying more for things from distant countries if
they have a “fair trade” or similar proclamation, putting in effort to
recycle as many products as I can, trying to contribute as little as
possible to companies with wantonly consumerist policies I don’t agree
with, using as few harsh agricultural chemicals as I can get away with to
keep my plants alive, etc. However, that doesn’t stop me from taking
airline flights to distant places for fun, or eating meat, or bananas and
mangos, etc. from thousands of miles away, or using products involving
petroleum (e.g. nearly any kind of plastic), or going out to restaurants,
or driving my car, or having dogs as pets, or sometimes *not* buying
organic products, etc.

I’m always interested in learning new information about the environmental
impacts of things I might or do use, in case there might be an opportunity
for me to make some kind of change for the better. So, I’m interested to
know what the rest of you knowledgeable and diverse people know about
things like glyphosate, and I like hearing about other people’s approaches
to dealing with common problems we all deal with such as nasty weeds. But
I’m interested in the truth, which I have come to accept is in most cases
complicated, and I have to say that arguments of the form “you should
believe me that X is [horrible/amazing] and if you don’t believe me then
you’re just bad/immoral/confused/ignorant/part of the problem, etc.” are
neither convincing nor helpful. Reasonable, respectful discussion involving
verifiable information and logical arguments based on facts, is helpful.

Furthermore, I don’t believe anyone in this list is in a position to claim
unequivocal ecological superiority in terms of their life choices. I would
be willing to admit I am wrong about this if anyone can honestly claim they
consume only renewable, ecologically sustainable, local products sourced
from people paid a living wage, who *also* consume such sustainable
products sourced from people who meet all the same requirements, etc. all
the way back up the supply chain. If you don’t fit those criteria, please
keep in mind that:

1) nobody is perfect (including you)

2) just participating in modern society means you are also contributing to
the decline of nature

3) if you want to make an actual impact on the world, it’s much more
effective to address opportunities in your own life than it is to rant
about other people not living up to your standards, and

4) if you want to convince other people to see your point of view, you need
to treat them respectfully and be willing to listen to theirs as well.

I hope that we can continue to have productive discussions about topics
like the ecological trade offs of herbicide use, because being able to
effectively share knowledge about these kinds of topics is a necessary step
on the path to anything resembling real ecological sustainability.
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