Monday, August 6, 2012

Reflections on Virginia #3

We think we are awfully smart most of the time here in the contemporary United States, and despite my deep and abiding love for Oregon I'd venture to suggest that my home state (and its urban environs, in particular) can be a bit inclined toward smugness.  We boldly proclaim our green and sustainable, bike-pedaling, locovore, organic aesthetic to the point of parody and beyond (see "television, 'Portlandia'"), and while I wouldn't for a moment suggest that Oregonians and our ilk aren't quite justified in our advocacy of environmentally sustainable practices, we didn't exactly invent the concept.  

Exhibit A:

George Washington's "dung repository," upon which was tossed animal excrement and refuse from Mount Vernon's kitchens.  

In other words, our first president had a very nice compost pile.

The more we go "green," the more we will realize that what we are actually doing is adopting the everyday experiences of those who came before us.  Many of us understand this already, but more awareness might be useful lest we become too subsumed in the progress-as-panacea principle of assuming all that is good will be found in the future.  Much of it will; other things -- like compost -- we figured out a loooong time ago.  The best information about environmental practices is often going to come from the oldest person you know!

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

Now that's an interesting tidbit about our Greatest American and Second Greatest President *after Lincoln, of course....:)