Last night, the environmental group I am involved with finished up a course from the Northwest Earth Institute (NEI) called “A World of Health: Connecting People, Place and Planet.” This is the second NEI course we have sponsored and both have been interesting and very worthwhile. But one of the things I have discovered about trying to do the best thing for myself and my environment is that the answers are seldom black and white.
For instance, there is the constant question about whether it is better to eat organically or locally. Obviously, when the food grown organically and locally is readily available, it’s best to take full advantage of it. But here in the northeast, local and organic produce can be pretty hard to find in the cold months. And obtaining what is available entails a lot of driving from where we happen to live. Believe me, I am totally not inclined to learn about how to set up cold frames and other contraptions so I can grow my own organic greens in the winter though I utterly admire those who do. I know enough about myself to know that it would be a study in frustration and humiliation…and that’s no exaggeration. So what to do?
Well, I don’t know. Personally, I have opted to lower my carbon footprint by frequenting the supermarket that is five minutes from my house and buying there whatever I can that is organic whether grown locally or not. Is that ideal? Absolutely not, but I’ve discovered that as people are buying more and more organic and earth-friendly products at this particular store, the store is responding by making more and more available. I think that’s a good thing.
So I muddle along as best I can and do the things that I can do…like weaning my household (in particular, the kitchen) off of plastic – a mammoth task – and recycling as much as possible and trying not to purchase things frivolously. It’s not that easy and the answers are truly not black and white. Life would be so much easier if they were.
What’s this all leading up to when it comes to my photography, you might wonder. Well, on our recent trip to Arizona, as I was snapping away, I began to think that I would process most of the photos of plants I took while I was there into black and white. By doing that, I think that it reduces the complexity of the forms of those interesting and wonderful desert plants making them simpler and maybe more elegant if that's possible, even as trying to live a greener life is neither - simple or necessarily elegant.
Yes, processing photos into black and white is a monumental leap from buying local, organic produce, but ask Greg or my kids some time…I am the queen of non sequiturs and, by golly, this is where my mental ramblings have lead me.
|Certainly not native, but Phoenix is full of them and they are beautiful.|