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How to Grow Your Cake And Eat It

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

How to Grow Your Cake And Eat It

Andrew Ryan

Through listening closely to conservative views on Julia Gillard’s climate tax, I have learnt that the biggest issue here is that, in the eyes of conservatives, nothing will change about big business carbon emissions, because companies will keep using the same amount without bothering to “waste” money on researching alternative energy solutions. They will simply charge more for their output to cover their costs, because that’s how business works, and that’s how the economy works, and everyone will have to pay more for everything without any effect on the environment.

Okay, fine, I get that. It’s a possibility, and I believe that a lot of big business bosses etc. are very capable of behaving in such a way. They are big business bosses after all, and no good business person wants to spend money if they don’t have to. But, BUT, I also believe it is possible to make sure this system works differently, by letting big business bosses know that they DO have to do that research, and that responsibility lies with the individual.

I have some ideas about how we can ensure that we don’t get fucked over by big businesses and the carbon tax. They’re just ideas, I’m not informed enough to say how easy it is for everyone to do all of them, or if you’ve got the time to do the research blah blah blah… but if every single household in Australia were to follow one or more of these steps, the message will come through to big companies that they can’t get away with simply charging us more to cover the costs of their carbon usage- and that we, as a nation, support the advancement of technology and industry to find more sustainable energy sources.

1. KEEP INFORMED ABOUT TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES. Read more than 1 source of information. Read more than 5 ideally. That way you’ll know exactly how cost efficient and helpful the whole process is, so you can make an informed decision about what to use, and how you use it.

2. Take advantage of rebates and switch to more energy efficient power- solar for your house and gas for your car for example. Find ways of combining energy saving methods to cut down your overall use of power, which also means cutting down your power bill (if you need to use money as a motivation for this shit, then so be it. SAVE MONEY TODAY!).

3. Encourage local community groups and businesses to do the same. Start in your home, work outwards to your neighbours, then to your schools, girl guides, churches, cafés, whatever. Enforce some sort of local petition for more environmentally friendly services, maybe start a local fund for alternative energy conversion. Spread the eco-love. Don’t support laziness. Encourage innovation!

4. Buy fresh food items (including meat) from as close to the source as you can. Find your nearest farmers’ market (link included at the bottom of the page) it cuts your costs, supports food diversity and local farmers, and cuts out the middle man and all of their profits and carbon emissions.

5. Grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. If that’s not an option, get a local group together to make a community garden. Plant fruit trees in public spaces. Tell the kinds to eat the fruit on the way home from school instead of buying a chocolate bar.

6. Eat according to your location’s seasonal varieties- cut the demand for fresh food import. Remember what real food looks like, not the advertised images of food you see in Coles catalogues. That isn’t real. That’s a highly polished professional photograph.

7. EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN. Educate your parents. Don’t preach. Live be example.

It is on each person to take responsibility for their own environmental impact, the buck can’t be passed on this issue. Saying it’s too difficult to change eating and living habits is a cop out- of course it’s fucking difficult! For generations now, we have lived amongst an economic system based on creating a profit from fulfilling the needs of the population. Once all the original needs were fulfilled, companies had to start CREATING needs to keep making money. And here we are. We’re used to being told that this new thing helps us in ways we couldn’t even IMAGINE before we’d ever heard of it. We buy them, they become part of our routines, become ingrained in our understanding of the world, and the world adapts to the new products. Cleaning products, frozen food, work out equipment, iPhones, pre-sliced bread, sound activated lights, all the inventions that change the way we live- for good and bad, are all there to create a profit for someone.

Try convincing people not to use hair styling products. It won’t work, because people “need” to do that thing to their hair. Joojing is important. No one likes a bad hair day. They “need” to feel good about their appearance. Our world is designed to run on consumerism, profit and debt, money made from appealing to human desires. It is definitely not designed to run on environmental sustainability. It’s going to take a while to turn it around to favour environmentalism, but it has to start somewhere, POLLUTION IS BAD FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS ALIVE, so why not start here and now?

Take those hair products I just mentioned completely off the market- we’ll all be having bad hair days for a little while, but then we’ll get over it and get on with our lives without hair products. Most of us will look back and think: “Wow, why the fuck did I do that? I’m not a fucking peacock. I have far more evolved systems in place to find a mate.” We’ll feel like chumps for buying into the bullshit. Most of the things on the shelves available for us to purchase as completely unnecessary, and are an utter waste of resources of all kinds.

So for decades, our lifestyles have been controlled in such a way that we can’t fathom living without half the products and services we have now. It might feel omnipotent and all controlling, but it’s all just a complex smoke screen. In reality, the situation is that if we take more time to consider our lifestyle options- and live according to the resulting plans and budgets- businesses that supply goods and services will have to change what they’re providing to suit our needs and interests. If you stop buy stuff, they’ll stop making it (after they’ve tried marketing it in a million different ways). That’s how business works as well. We can take back control of the market by demanding that if they want to charge us for the convenience of a pre-packaged product, it had better be the most eco-friendly fucking product on the planet, and they’d better fucking tell us how they made it and where they got the materials from and who they paid to make it and how much they paid them…

We are living in a time when corporations can have the same rights as a person, a time when rich first world kids will intentionally starve themselves to be as skinny as poor third world kids because a bunch of dudes working in advertising to pay off their house and the giant TV in it that is the only connection their kids have with cultures other than their own, decided that “waif” was in this season, a time when parents will feed their children fast food and sugary drinks and then wonder why those fucking brats won’t keep quiet/stay still/go to bed/listen in school/do their homework and then make them take a synthetic medication that they know nothing about that the doctor got paid by the manufacturers to prescribe to the kid- and we all pretty much know it now. We know about corruption, we know about lies, we know about rigging, we know about hushed up secrets, we know that shit is going on. And we have the power to demand transparency from the people we give our money to, if they really want to keep getting our money.

If changes are to be made, we have to suffer through the change over process. Things might get worse- we might not have as much time to watch relax if we’re spending more time reading on the internet, cost of living might go up, or we might have to rearrange the budget uncomfortably if we’re going to be able to afford to get solar panels, or any other change to our lives that we didn’t quite plan for and don’t really want to be permanent, but it has to get worse before it can be better.

If there is a goal, it is easier to ignore distractions. If every Australian was given an unbiased update on environmental issues and technology advancements concerning alternative energy sources, all of the political debate about carbon taxing could be ignored. Tony Abbot would be laughed out of Canberra, and Julia Gillard would be applauded for taking the first step into a new era of human development: environmental sustainability taking precedence over profit. IMAGINE THAT. We might be on our way to becoming…gasp… a PROGRESSIVE NATION. Wow. I might one day be able to look at my fellow Australians and not think “Why the fuck are you all so fucking lazy and racist?” and instead be proud of them and the rare foresight we had as a nation, and managed to put aside all that intolerance and work together on something important. The future of our planet and our big, beautiful country. Pretty. Fucking. Simple.

Recommended reading:
http://www.farmersmarkets.org.au/markets/ http://slowfoodaustralia.com.au/
http://www.postconsumers.com/