A few months ago, during the "being a heretic" thread, I prefaced a post
"What I am really uncomfortable about is using this forum for the
discussion of the organic standards. That said, I'll do it anyway,
since there are plenty of people here who seem interested. But if I get
lots of complaints, I'll quit."
Several people expressed surprise that I might have gotten the
impression that such discussion is not welcome here. Since I was being
"nice" and trying not to point fingers, I let it slide without
specifying why. At this time several people seem to think Mr. London
out of line with his rather pointed criticism of Mr. Groff-for example,
Steve Diver's comment about "Larry London the organic farmer bashing
Steve Groff the no-till farmer here on Sanet."
Apparently they failed to notice the 75 times when Mr. London and others
refrained from saying "why don't you shut up already?" in response to
persistent, unnecessary, unsolicited low-level general insults to
organic positions. It's all in the archive for anybody determined to
I felt uncomfortable about the tolerance of this forum for an organic
standards discussion mostly due to the continuing disparaging comments
of Mr. Groff, which go mostly unchallenged. Since they remain mostly
unchallenged, it is not possible to tell whether that indicates
widespread agreement or a widespread ability to ignore and tolerate
irritating commentary or that it goes unnoticed or some blend of the
above. It should not, however, be a big surprise when somebody finally
has enough and responds with some irritation. Anyone who is genuinely
concerned that we should "build bridges and not make war" has the
opportunity to put that into practice beginning today, by refraining
from further pointless disparagement.
So, who gets the prize for being the most sustainable? I am pretty sure
that nobody is there yet. Is anybody carbon neutral? Are the materials
loops closed yet? How is the biodiversity of your landscape? Can we
admit that "cost" is not the same as "cost"? Is "profit" which is
gained by externalizing costs to be pronounced "sustainable?" There was
recently a very brief thread on embodied energy. Why was it so brief?
Is it or is it not relevant to being sustainable? I think it is very
important. Shall we pretend that shipping stuff around the world has no
environmental impact? I consider it a cost to me that xenobiotic
materials which I do not use or purchase can nonetheless be found in my
body tissues. Does anybody have the courage to actually either agree or
Avoiding all conflict, in particular over which version of "sustainable"
is the one being used, will lead nowhere. It will just lead to a
misplaced assessment of where the actual conflict is. The words do
matter. Since there is a problem in that nobody "owns" words, when
divergent meanings are used by different groups, I recommend defining
certain terms such that they are internally consistent withing a given
thread. That is assuming, of course, that the goal is genuine
communication. It is my operating hypothesis that, when an individual
refuses to define terms or commit to a position personally, that genuine
communication is not that person's goal.
Now if anybody wants to flame me personally, or criticize something I
said, that is fine. Just make sure it is what I said and not what you
project or what somebody who reminds you of me said. It is not only
fin, it is, in fact, productive. What is not productive are vague
statements about unnamed organic zealots who are not here to be quoted
directly or to clarify their own positions. Anyone too lazy or gutless
to follow through with a specific discussion with a specific person,
using quoted text, is not making a point or building a bridge.
-- Loren Muldowney firstname.lastname@example.org
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 03 2000 - 12:00:38 EDT