Education for Sustainable Living
There’s a great environmental economics blogger at UCLA, so don’t conclude from this post that all UCLA environmental programs are nuts. Just some of them. I’m watching a five-part series about locavores and “sustainable living.” I’m not going to torture everyone by embedding it, but the first part is here on YouTube if you’d like to watch from the beginning.
Some thoughts on Jules Dervaes’ lecture:
- (Part 2, 1:05) It’s interesting that he complains about the existence of a few hundred different brands of shoes. In his words, it doesn’t “necessarily ensure that you will have a successful future.” I can’t think of any particular number of brands that would ensure that. It seems like a bit much to ask of a pair shoes. Most importantly, if he got his way and everything had to be produced locally, there would be many more brands of all products, because each location would have to have its own brand. That really would be wasteful.
- (Part 2, 3:50) Now he’s complaining that there aren’t enough varieties of lettuce. Quite a leap from his train of thought five seconds ago. I was expecting him to make better use of logic after he drew all the Venn-diagram-look-alike circles on the board — although I have to admit that his mastery of the Socratic method is impressive. The students, at his prompting, are listing all the ills a diverse seed bank would save us from, including global warming. What about an attack of killer shoes?
- (Part 2, 4:00) If he’s so concerned about hedging his bets and guarding against all these risks (drought, disease, etc.) you would think buying food from a variety of places would be more effective than using a variety of seeds. If there’s a natural disaster in your area, for example, your seeds are going to die and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 25 varieties.
- (Part 2, 6:45) I don’t have data on hand, but I think he’s wrong about fewer varieties of produce. You can get many varieties of fruits and vegetables at a grocery store, if you’re willing to buy food from far away. Like those fancy tomatoes in different sizes and colors. And the apples they’ve bred to be extra sweet.
- (Part 3, 0:20) Who wants to eat that one ugly squash for two weeks straight?
- (Part 3, 3:20) Now he implies that eating local food gives you an advantage in sexual selection and evolution.
- (Part 3, 6:00) I planted seeds in cups, too, in preschool.
- (Part 4, 3:08) “Resistance is fertile.” Ha ha ha ha ha …
- (Part 5, 0:10) He orders bugs, like from a catalog. Isn’t that cheating? That’s not local if you introduce foreign animal species!
I wouldn’t pay much attention to this if his ideas stayed in his vegetable garden. But the locavores want to force the rest of us to jump on the bandwagon — or should I say, hay wagon? This nutty ideology may soon be coming to a school near you. Stay on the lookout. Keep the friends of the free market close, keep the enemies … local.