One day a colleague from work asked me this simple question.
Besides the most obvious answer relating to the incontrovertible fact that artificial ingredients and hormones have been proven deeply dangerous to our health, I pondered a more complex philosophical and community-driven reflection.
Buying “Organics” is more than the product itself: it is about defining your tribe. It becomes an emotional attitude that reflects a sense of belonging. To me, it is the instrument for fostering health and community that transcends the petty politics that all too often rigidly define and separate us. Trying to consume strictly healthy organic products in a city might seem utopian, but with some effort and direction, you can absolutely do so and fully integrate it in your daily life and diet.
Consuming organics is beyond benefiting only yourself: it means that you are feeding a chain of sustainability, cultivating a preference for authentic, healthy products, without the noxious add-ins of chemicals, possible carcinogens, and potentially unsafe perservatives.
As for my personal experience, I made the crucial, radical choice a long time ago to devote myself to an exclusivey organic existence. This conversion created a habit that irrevocably altered my role as a consumer and citizen. I realized it was my obligation to convert acquired wisdom of this lifestyle actively and not just as an example.
Simple but careful scrutiny can allow one to embrace the organic without deep financial distress. For example, I can easily calculate what I can afford to buy fully organic, incorporate these essential items into my budget, and give up quantity to maintain ideal quality. To me, it is not the product itself, but I consider the whole chain of sustainability, so If I choose to get one T- Shirt, instead of three, because I know that one is made in a place that has decent labor practices and conditions, and I know the cotton is organic. Similarly, when it comes to food, I may not be able to afford 100% organic all the time, but pick up a few super staples and stay faithful to my choices. It becomes a natural habit but not some neurotic tic. Life has enough stress without adding more to our dietary and buying logic. If I try to be “environmentally correct” in all pursuits, I would be becoming a basket case on the way to filling my market basket! Therefore, I choose my battles and keep the blood pressure down.
You may get less quantity, but one thing I guarantee, I have learned how to use almost everything until the tiniest morsel, because not wasting is the most powerful attitude for the environment, and it is emotionally satisfying too. #LessIsMore!
Organic, is not about being fancy or overspending on it; it is about being part of a Tribe as well. It is a Tribe that “Think Green,” as “Role Models.”
The Whole Food Concept
“Recycle this Bag, Please”
Carrying our colorful array of bags with us at all times, we assume we are already doing the right thing, recycling and taking care of the environment.
When we support brands and resources that respect standards of more fairness in the world, we know we are really supporting the Planet.
However, knowing exactly if we are engaging on the most optimal chain of conservation and consumption is still a complex question we need to analyze further. (* Adopt an Elephant article on Peki’s Blog)
My friends have always made jokes about me and my life in the “Whole Foods.” Although today the company grew up and it lost the particular charm that I used to appreciate more, it is still a place to find organic products and beyond.
The Whole Foods set the “green trend”, in a way that they group the resources and explain “their seals of trust,” if I may describe like that. We can now see, for example, whether the product is from a local producer and if it respects fair trade and fair labor sources; also, if it is organic, without antibiotics or hormones, and even if animals were tested to develop the product, or some of those combinations, or all of them.
Can you imagine going on our own every day lives thriving to match all those fairness categories?
It would create what one scientist called “Ecophobia”
We may go to the opposite direction stressing out too much, than avoiding it. It is like when we talk too much about the subject with our children, instead in fact, doing something different to improve the issue:
“In our zest for making them aware of and responsible for the world’s problems, we cut our children off from their roots” - David T. Sobel MD – Director of the of the Center for Place-based Education at Antioch New England Graduate School
Sobel describes his fears that a rigid environmentally correct curriculum sometimes ends up distancing children from, rather than connecting them with the natural world. The way that the curriculum is presented can cause Ecophobia, a fear of ecological deterioration.
In my understanding, Whole Food’s Business have created, a model of a home for our concerns, in a pleasant way, so we can feel part of something special, shopping in a very pleasant environment as well and getting the emotional benefit of it and from the healthier actual products that they select to put on their shelves.
How did they do that?
As I have been particularly following Whole Foods progress, since I first lived in the USA, in 1996, in Chicago, I must admit that the atmosphere that they have created, always playing a nice music, setting up everything so nicely, and initially, at least, having attentive and eclectic people assisting us, embraced me in a way, that I have always felt so comfortable, that I end up spending more time than the necessary (ops. and money, but I end up spending there and not at other places, so it is not a waste nor excess). Of course, the quality of the products counts. You kind of fell smart being part of that “Shopping Brown Bag/experience”, fulfilled at last.
That it is: Sense of Belonging!
From the bottom of my passionate green heart,
(in São Paulo with Camila Dotta, taking this picture, at a Organic Street Fair)