My very thoughtful significant other got me these lovely tea balls for Christmas – I love green tea and jasmine tea, and these look great when they explode into life expanding in the hot water…
They also have these great descriptions on the side of each individual box that the tea ball comes in. They’re direct translations from Chinese (Canotonese? Mandarin? I don’t know). Here’s what it says about this particular delicacy:
Name: ‘God-Given Peaches With Good Luck’
Contenten: ‘God-Given Peaches With Good Luck’ uses a fresh jasmine to be the bud, is made of tea needles. After pouring boiled Water, the white Jasmine relaxing and uprising from an open tea ball, under being moistened by water. the Jasmine is as limpid as Jade. Take up the glass and drink. the Jasmine is Joggling in the Water, beautiful and full of winningness.
I don’t know about you but I like to drink tea that’s full of “winningness” all the time!
Thing is, this is the day after Day 1 of my PDC… so my mind is immediately questioning:
- how far has this been flown or shipped in order to get to UK and what is its environmental impact?
- how was this tea produced? In what conditions did the workers work?
Two really interesting points came up for me yesterday in group discussion. Firstly, how do we judge or assess how different ethics are offset against each other. For example, if eating chocolate makes me really happy, I could argue that it meets the people care ethic. If that same chocolate was produced or transported in a way that was less than best in terms of permaculture, then does this cancel out the people care benefits? Are things really able to occupy the ‘sweet spot’ of the ethics venn diagram if they’re not ‘perfectly’ in line with all three – how do we qualify and quantify our decisions?
The second point that came up, was if there are particular foods that culturally are eaten by specific groups of people (indian foods, south american foods etc) and people wish to continue to eat those foods in the UK, but the UK doesn’t produce these foods and therefore makes it impossible to access them ‘locally sourced’, then does permaculture inherently exclude some people with specific cultural needs? How could I balance my ethics if culturally I had a need (yes a need) to eat a specific food as part of my regular diet and lifestyle… if it was part of my cultural identity… and then suddenly I am entering a paradigm shift where permaculture says – “your food is not ethically viable within my system: it is not local and it is not produced in a sustainable way – you must find a more ethical replacement for it”. I don’t know whether I’d want any part of this permaculture thing, if it meant stripping away my cultural identity. This, wouldn’t meet the people care ethic…
So… I come back to the question of how we measure and quantify the ethics in order to support our decisions. Is it subjective? Or is there an objective view? Then, if we ‘set the bar’ somewhere objectively, we are dangerously close to introducing a ‘compliance’ expectation around ethical standards… and therein lies a bug bear of mine. But that’s another post.
Whatever tea floats your boat, enjoy!