I recently responded to a post on a popular horse forum that I frequent. The original poster was asking if or what others do in terms of using sustainable practices when caring for their horses or purchasing items used in their riding. She was specifically asking if people thought about the carbon footprint of their facility, if they actively avoid products knowingly made overseas/in sweat shops/with unsustainable practices.
Several people said, while they care, they do not think about that. They do what is financially sustainable for them and best for their horses. Generally I do the same. But I get where that original poster is coming from too.
I'll preface with this: I do consciously think about how I am impacting the environment and I recycle, try to reduce my overall consumption, and maintain a "sustainable" lifestyle. I do worry about climate change and what our future may hold with our current overindulgent, disposable, and "I need it now" mentality and practices.
Since moving to a farm, I have had a bit of a shift in my thinking. I see that none of us are "new" in this thought to be cool and environmentally conscious.
So in reply to the above posed question, this was my response:
I agree with what some others have said regarding the difference between those who have land and those who don't. Since moving to a 20+ acre farm from a tiny parcel of land, we have become much more conscious about what we put on our land chemical-wise, how water drains/runoff, manure management, etc. I care about where my hay comes from for my horses sake and I'm lucky in the sense that it is grown and baled in the field next door by a farmer who uses organic and sustainable practices without ever uttering such words. I've learned that farmers, especially the old school farmers, are some of the best conservationists around.
What I've personally seen is that those are the people who have been "reduce, reuse, recycling" in one way or another forever. It seems to me that the people who appear most concerned with the environment are often the ones who contribute the most to the problem. Often due to convenience. Online shopping shipped across the country, lots of plastics because vegan, out of season food because they want it, etc. etc.
Personally, I do try to make the most conscious decisions when making a purchase, including for my horses. But I find that people on farms are generally already making those choices, and they did it before it was "cool"...and they don't talk about it.
Also me: guilty of online shopping, using plastics, and buying some out of season foods. I am not condemning anyone for doing those things and also spouting off about saving the plant. It's important to realize that, even with the best intentions, we're all part of the problem. I encourage everyone to do what we can and practice what we preach but also to expand our perspective. It's not all or nothing.
I am not one of those salt of the earth amazing farmers but I know a few. And I feel incredibly honored to know those people. The amount of knowledge I have gained in less than 2 years about proper care of the land is incredible. It sometimes blows my mind at the wealth of knowledge they possess. Not to mention their humble willingness to help others without expecting anything in return.
There are plenty of people who still raise and grow their own food, bake their own bread, and fix what's broken.
Perspective is key.
Save the Earth. Small farmers have been trying for a long time.