Of Shoelaces and Fossil Fuel


| 3/9/2009 2:12:19 PM


shoesFor most Americans of a certain age, learning how to tie their shoes was a milestone of childhood.  For today’s children this is increasingly not the case, as Velcro closures and slip-ons render shoelaces nearly obsolete.  Sandra Steingraber thinks the loss of shoelace tying as a developmental benchmark illustrates a larger societal shift away from self-sufficiency.

In the Jan/Feb issue of Orion, Steingraber quotes a recent Fortune article which, in analyzing the impact of the decline in oil production, advises: “Learn to garden, and buy some comfortable walking shoes.”  While movements toward community gardening, home cooking, and even a return to farming have taken root, Steingraber notes the lack of such awareness in mainstream parenting literature. 

“The same day Fortune told me to grow my own dinner,” she writes, “my local newspaper advised me on how to help my children build a competitive résumé for college applications...Of the many items on the list of leadership-building activities, all would necessitate me driving someplace in a car.”

Steingraber asks parents to consider the make up of many popular shoes “that derive from barrels of oil and are assembled in faraway lands.”  Furthermore, she wonders how well our society is preparing children to live in “a world more economically and ecologically unreliable” than in the past.  

“What does it mean,” she asks, “at this moment in history, to ‘teach your children well’?”



Sources: Orion



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter