I was going to review a book I read. I was going to, but the thing is I was so busy restraining myself from throwing it across the room that I wasn't sure I could finish it, let alone provide a coherent review.
What bugged me about this book is what bugs me about a lot of the environmental/voluntary simplicity movement. There's a large subset of the movement--the one that gets the most air time it seems--that would have you think you have to buy expensive hybrid cars, live in expensive, tricked out homes, and only shop at certain places. That if you don't cook all of your meals from scratch you're a bad parent and if you don't buy everything local you're a bad person (forget the fact that some folks just cannot afford the prices, and yes, I know all about the subsidies to big agra, but that doesn't help the single parent on food stamps who's trying to get by, people). If you don't live in 400 square feet, you're doing it wrong (unless the home was constructed out of totally reclaimed materials with passive and active solar and a greywater recapturing system).
I just. . .I cannot even.
Listening to Graham Hill or Barbara Kingsolver or Michael Pollan or some of these other people, you could understand why so many people think this sort of thing is a trend pushed by affluent to wealthy people that has nothing to do with the rest of us.
I remember mentioning a CSA on the blog and one of my readers commented wistfully that it sounded nice but it was way beyond something she could afford. And that's something I think we all need to keep in mind. It's nice to be able to do these things, but not everyone can and no matter how much you complain about the real price of food or fuel or whatever, it's not something that people who don't have a lot can afford. It will not change their financial situation one whit to say that well, those eggs you got so cheaply were actually the product of agricultural subsidies for big corporations. Yes, okay, but at the end of the day, if you have limited funds to feed your family, you're going to go for the cheap eggs.
So I'd urge anyone who is about to give a TED Talk or write an article or a book about this awesome sustainable thing they're doing to just lay off the lectures. Lay off the insistence that it will save you money (no, actually, chances are it won't) or that it's cost effective the end (no, actually, for someone who's barely getting by, it isn't). Remember that not everyone can do the things you're doing and it's not because we're all living in McMansions and driving Hummers.