I’ve previously mentioned my fascination with all things Wendell Berry. I’ve been reading lots of Wendell stuff lately, and much of it has been so good that I just want to share it. I thought I could start a little weekly feature of Wendell-isms to share here.

Last week, the Washington Post sponsored the Future of Food conference, a wonderful assortment of leaders who care about the future of food. Excerpts from some of the speakers and panels are available online – you should listen to all of them. The speech from the Prince of Wales was (surprisingly?) excellent and definitely worth the 45 minutes if you have the time.

Wendell was invited to give a short speech, and you should listen to or read the whole thing. Berry’s speech lays out things we must do to work toward more sustainable lives – in terms of what we eat, especially, but Berry challenges us to think about how our communities as a whole can be more sustainable.

This quote below has particularly stayed with me these last several days:

…we must not work or think on a heroic scale. In our age of global industrialism, heroes too likely risk the lives of places and things they do not see. We must work on a scale proper to our limited abilities. We must not break things we cannot fix. There is no justification ever for permanent ecological damage. If this imposes the verdict of guilt upon us all, so be it.

I don’t know about you, but I find that I often become discouraged by the scope of the problems around us. Berry’s words remind me that the work that God calls me to right here and now – whether it be in working out at the Grace Garden, encouraging friends to make more sustainable choices, and even teaching our son the joy of planting things – is vital and important, not despite of its “everydayness,” but, perhaps, because of it.

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