Monday, March 10, 2008

Wendell Berry: The Andy Rooney of The Conservation Movement

First, let me say that I do not mean to belittle Wendell Berry by likening him to the curmudgeonly Andy Rooney of CBS's 60 Minutes. Andy Rooney is annoying; Wendell Berry, on the other hand, is not annoying. Indeed, reading one of his essays is a call to arms to fight harder to live a life of good conservation practices and principles, as well as working to convince our public fathers and mothers to exact real change in environmental policy.

But, you have to admit, Wendell Berry is a curmudgeon and, to all curmudgeons of the conservation movement (young and old) he is an inspiration. All of the essays I've read of Berry's come from my exposure to his writing in the now-defunct REL 4936 class (and I am really missing that class right now), and I encourage everyone to read at least one of his essays. "The Pleasures of Eating" is probably my favorite; it lays down the whole argument for the slow food movement as well as locavore consumption. By becoming aware of what we are eating and where it comes from, we can begin to relearn our place in the ecosystem. Every time I throw egg shells and carrot tops away, Berry's simple words of advice, "Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer," come to mind. I finally listened to those words over the weekend and started a compost.
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