Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Monkey Mind Tuesday

I seem to have a case of monkey mind today: my interest has been piqued about a bunch of things that I've read and wanted to follow up on, but I just can't settle into any one train of thought long enough to extract any wisdom. Instead, my mind just flitters on to the next thought or a new idea. Instead of fighting it, I'm going to give into the monkey mind today in the hope that there is something to be learned from my mental wanderings. Let's see:

With my post about GMOs still fresh, I was quite interested in the surprisingly informative newsletter put out by Seventh Generation (you know, the company that makes the more benign kinds of paper and cleaning products). This edition has a blurb about two new studies showing that GMOs may be as harmful to human health as some have long feared. In the first study, researchers in Russia fed rats flour made from Monsanto's Round-Up Ready soybeans while the rats were pregnant and nursing. 55% of the rats born to the mothers who were on the GM diet died within three weeks while only 9% of the control group died during the same period. And the surviving baby rats in the test group were stunted. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, upon hearing of these preliminary results, became greatly alarmed. And with good reason! Over 78 million acres are planted with Round-Up Ready soybeans. The second study wasn't exactly reassuring. But when I started to read about it, the monkey was ready to move on to the next topic...

This interview in Grist made me really pine for a bike. The Xtracycle sport utility bicycle looks cool, and I know that $999 is a bargain compared to the price of cars. Just when I was trying to wrap my head around why that amount of money for a bike seems completely out of reach when most cars are over $30,000 and my own car payment is not exactly cheap, I read this Q&A in the interview with Xtracyle's president:

Q: What's your favorite TV show?
A: I think current television is so integral a part of the Wheel of Destruction and breeding the culture of insatiable desire that this question should not be asked in this forum. It's like asking: What's your favorite exploitative big-box retailer? Your favorite SUV for short trips? And in so doing, inadvertently using environmental
activists to legitimize the very behavior that we think might not be good for the world.

Hmmm...what is the role of television and mainstream media? Is he right that the question makes some assumptions that tell us something disturbing about the norms in our society? Or does his answer just make us non-cable-subscribers look irrelevant to most of the populace?

I got a few late afternoon hunger pangs and thoughts about media, television and the modern environmental movement were rudely interrupted with thoughts of the dinner I had planned for tonight: a stew of chickpeas, potatoes and carrots served over rice. The extra rice will work well in the lentil casserole I'm going to make tomorrow to serve with a butternut squash gratin. And if all goes as planned, the savory onion, chard and cheddar bread pudding will be assembled tomorrow evening to be popped into the oven on Thursday evening for that night's dinner.

A little while later, I took a sip of tea and popped over to Siel's site for a moment. I was thrilled to have won some fair trade tea and coffee from City Hippy for this post about the Starbucks Challenge 3.5. (Thanks again!) Elated at having won a great green gift, I began to muse about the connections I've made with people in the blogosphere since I started Ardent Eden back in November. Of course, that reminded me of Norene's post about the community of bloggers that seems to have sprung up around her. I had to go back to reread this insight of hers: "One of the things I'm coming to realize is that any power we have as individuals is power that is granted to us by our communities." Well-said! How can I foster a greater sense of community? Wasn't that one of my goals for 2006? How am I doing with those goals anyway? What can I do to dig deeper? Will I finally figure out how to make a series of showings of eco-documentaries in my home happen? Will anyone show up? Will the monkey mind ramblings ever evolve into a post more intelligently designed than this one? Hey, that reminds me of an interesting topic...


  • At 1:17 AM, Blogger Norene said…

    That dreaded monkey mind. I've got a bad case myself...nearly all the time.

    Lauren, I'm going to need to take some time off work to keep up with your posts. So many great links that I scan or just pass by with the promise to myself to come back later. When I do come back there's a whole boatload more to add to my "someday" list!

    I'm hoping to get yogurt recipe posted for you tonight in the yogurt queen comments, but can't promise. By the weekend definitely, so please check back.

  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger madcapmum said…

    I haven't heard the term "monkey mind" before, but it's a great phrase.

    And as a tv hater, I really liked that little snippet of the interview. Good questions to be asked.

  • At 10:08 AM, Blogger spiral said…

    If you do happen talk about being intelligently designed, let me know. Maybe we could do twin posts . . . Congrats on the prize, and ditto to Norene--you always have tons of great info. (Thanks for helping with my nephew's project, too!)

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Reading your posts always makes my day a little bit nicer.I find myself saying to my husband A LOT now, "Lauren posted this," or, "Lauren posted that." I'm not sure what he thinks about his ho-hum wife turned activist-in-training. Living "green" is a new lifestyle for me, and I feel like I should have made the effort a LONG time ago. However, I'm not sure how I would ever live without TV. Gotta watch The Office each Thursday evening or HGTV on weekend nights. And my son would surely go insane without a Thomas the Tank Engine video to watch every now and again. Anyway . . .

    Why do your posts always make me hungry?? Are you naturally talented in the kitchen or are you getting those yummy dinner ideas somewhere else?

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Norene & Spiral - Thanks! I guess a benefit of monkey mind is that it can lead you to follow your nose to a bunch of different pieces of information.

    Madcapmum - I'm with you on the TV front. We have one with basic cable mostly so that my husband can watch sports. I can do without it pretty easily, but we do watch DVDs from Netflix.

    Organic Veggie - Is your husband ready to jump in the car to Boston and muzzle me? ;) I've got a LOT of learning and action to work on myself, but I do love sharing what I've learned on this path and where I think I need to go. About the food...yep, we love good food around here. I'm really passionate about eating well, eating healthy, and (for me) eating vegetarian. My husband is not a vegetarian and for him to be satiated from a veggie meal, it "can't sacrifice taste," as he reminds me all the time. So I spend much more time than some others, I suspect, thinking about meals, reading cookbooks, and experimenting in the kitchen. It's such a great feeling to come up with a dish that uses fresh organic ingredients (even better if they're local or if we grew some of them in our garden). Trying to do that every day while working and taking care of a baby can be a challenge, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it! In fact, I'm off to make up a batch of granola, prep dinner for tonight and see about that bread pudding for tomorrow night...I've got to put the Bean's bouncy seat up on the kitchen table and hand her some plastic mixing spoons to keep her happy.


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