What about lemons and other excuses?

Excuses for inaction?For my Blog Action Day post on Climate Change I’d like to share with you a family discussion we had recently.  You may find it eerily familiar !

The Man from Salford started it.  I was quite surprised.  It is not like him to instigate environmental initiatives, especially if they might affect the contents of his stomach.  What he proposed was that we should, as a family, start a 100 mile diet.  In other words, we should only eat foods that have been produced within a hundred mile radius of our home.  (If I was of a cynical nature I might suspect he had already done a mental checklist on this that reads: beer, beef, cheese! ) 

The first thing I said was, ‘What a fantastic idea.’ So, we’ve established a sound principle.   The second thing I said was, ‘What about lemons?’ Get ready, here come the get out clauses!  Between the three of us we could think of several more food items we couldn’t imagine doing without.  And so the preliminary negotiations started.  Welcome to the Hazlehurst Summit. 

‘Surely,’ we reasoned, ‘there should be healthy and fair trade beyond our hundred mile boundary?’  Here comes the compromise.  We decide we are each allowed three overseas  luxury items.   Why three?  Well if we write lots of extra stuff in now it means we have something to negotiate with at future summits and it will look like we’re making meaningful compromises without ever actually reaching the agreed target.

I added to my list teabags, basmati rice and, of course, lemons.  Goldilocks had a preposterously long list of things that she couldn’t possibly live without.  Historically, of course, she has not consumed as much as us.  She is still developing.  Who were we to say she shouldn’t eat all the junk that we happily consumed as children?  However we were pretty certain, that with the exception of tinned tuna, most of them consisted mainly of chocolate and sugar.  (It is possible that someone within a hundred miles of us grows sugar beet but I don’t know where it goes, I’ve only ever seen cane sugar on the shop shelves.)  So that was her three luxuries sorted.  

The Man from Salford having, thanks to Goldilocks, already ensured a supply of chocolate, needed only to add coffee and soy sauce to his list.  He looked smug whereas I could have still added loads of food products to my list.  My concern here was spices.  Get ready for a bit of carbon trading.  ‘I may produce many goodies containing spices,’ I reasoned, ‘but you are consuming the larger portion of those goodies.  I think I should be entitled to your third list item and I say it should be spices.’

It was a tense moment, maybe just to derail the whole process he might suddenly affect a fondness for caviar and declare that he couldn’t walk away from the table without it.  I would be without my spices (which I couldn’t walk away from the table without) and the whole deal would be off.  But The Man from Salford is a good man, he has his reputation to uphold (if not a Nobel prize) and in any case is extremely fond of curry.  The Hazlehurst protocol was ratified and the signatories slapped each other on the back and congratulated themselves on having reached an historic agreement.

If you would like our leaders to take Copenhagen seriously and come away with the best possible deal for all our futures why not visit one, or indeed all three, of the following;

You could sign the petition calling on Barack Obama and US representatives to take firm and positive action at  Blog Action Day.

You could sign a letter written to Gordon Brown at Oxfam’s Here and Now.

You can visit Greenpeace 12 Policies and write a letter to your MP asking them to make a commitment to the green agenda.  If your MP is anything like my MP you’ll get a letter back saying, ‘What a fantastic idea but what about lemons?’  Actually she said she was glad Greenpeace was taking this initiative but it wasn’t ’feasible’ and that her Government was fantastic.  

I am going to remove the pips from the two lemons that are sitting in my fruit bowl now and plant them as a symbolic reminder to myself on Blog Action Day to make sustainable food choices. Who knows, there is a chance I may get my 100 mile lemons. 

What about you? I’d love to hear what three luxuries you would choose! Any suggestions to help us meet our targets always welcome.

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5 comments to What about lemons and other excuses?

  • Granny Goo

    Red wine for me + proper tea + garam massala (a blend of spices I know but has to count as just one foodstuff otherwise I will miss out on my wine and tea)

  • goo

    Hi mum, do you think it’s alright for me to drink your red wine when I visit or is that cheating too much? At least I’ll be able to eat seafood with a clear conscience!

  • Oooh dear, I’m likely to creatively fudge a bit with this one and have…

    Citrus fruits (see what I did there?)
    Luxury drinks (ie coffee, tea, wine)

    Is that naughty? I might have to insist that R has rice and olive oil on his list!

  • goo

    Very naughty indeed! Generic terms are useful aren’t they?

  • you’d think this was fairly easy to do but i guess we are spoilt in that we can get food from the other side of the world and it appears fresh. i’ts a good excersie to do though as you may find that a item you commonly eat is produced closer to home then what you’d normally go for so can change with little to no change in your diet. another is looking for calories in food, i like to do it but not because i’m on a diet but instead i often find the same item of food with far less and tastes just as good so i still enjoy my food but without worrying about my diet

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