Category — Lifestyle/ Simplicity
Here’s a book suggesting ways to end the addictions of consumerism and flow into a cultural renaissance.
This might make a good gift. Give it to all the members of your book club or other group so all of you can discuss it. Our biggest event at Christmas now is with our neighbors, and we have a long table lined with 3 generations making delicious tamales! Great fun! No boxed gifts, no cards- just real gifts of laughter, sharing, special food, and LOVE! Try it! - Editor
The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction
Many people sense that consumer culture is dragging us toward extinction. We must discover an exit. There is a door, hidden in plain sight. What sort of culture might appear if we took seriously the essential values and principles that form the deep structure of voluntary simplicity and used them to inform a new perspective of the good life? Can we find the passage leading to cultural renaissance? This book aims to help seed this renaissance by widening the conversation about how we transition from the road to extinction to a path with heart that has a future.
December 6, 2013 Comments Off
“I have long been leery of politicians. But now local politicians are coming to us.
They know change needs to happen- really big change- but to do it, they need constituents
to ask for it and to give it rational, calculated, steady support.”
Joanne Poyourow, TransitionUS in Los Angeles
- In preparation for the United Nation’s climate meeting in Warsaw next week, four very, very dire reports have been prepared. Political commitment to radically cut emissions is desperately needed, yet we are disappointed over and over again by wishy-washy words, with no real action. Emissions are actually rising, not falling!
Many are now advocating street action, which provides pieces of the puzzle. But here is another point, not in contradiction but in addition. Where are the models to point to as solutions? Will politicians commit to plans to redesign society if there are no living models of what that looks like? We need every action, but personal and community examples are the light that other actions can point to. - Editor
So once the protestors have stopped the drilling and the pipelines, who’s going to teach citizens the ways of an oil-free lifestyle? Right now we don’t have powerdown infrastructure in place. Once the protesters have slowed the conventional economic machine, what will we have left? We need to have a new economy in place. And somebody’s got to build it.
Joanna Macy sagely reminds us that there are three paths of action to help further The Great Turning. Macy’s first is Stopping Action, stopping further destruction.
Macy’s second type of action is Creating New Structures, creating that which will be in place to replace the old.
Macy’s third type of action to help further The Great Turning: Change in Consciousness. Joanna Macy describes this as changing the stories we tell each other, our cultural stories, our inner stories. Redefining who we are, and how humanity fits into the cycles of this small planet.
For TransitionUS- http://transitionus.org/our-story
November 8, 2013 Comments Off
- I have spent an amazing day in a workshop with Joanna Macy, and if we could get our political leaders to do this, so many of the barriers stuck in people’s brains would dissolve into this deeper consciousness. What if all the delegates in Warsaw had attended The Great Turning workshop? We need to ask ourselves if this profound consciousness isn’t, indeed, the FIRST step, rather than the third. And if so, how do we achieve it? - Editor
The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.
The ecological and social crises we face are inflamed by an economic system dependent on accelerating growth. This self-destructing political economy sets its goals and measures its performance in terms of ever-increasing corporate profits- in other words by how fast materials can be extracted from Earth and turned into consumer products, weapons, and waste.
A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world.
Three Dimensions of the Great Turning
1. Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings
2. Analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives
3. Shift in Consciousness
November 8, 2013 Comments Off
“Oh, okay. I see your point. But you have to balance that against the conveniences of my lifestyle.”
“One of which is not thinking about this.”
November 1, 2013 Comments Off
- Success stories for facing climate challenges are easier to implement on a big budget. On a limited budget, it’s harder. My 2006 neighbor Betsy with 2 young boys shines again. When she and her family were next door, they provided fresh organic vegies from their small farm to our cohousing community, creating a fun atmosphere- some brought beer as we gathered every Friday and shared cheerful camaraderie and vegies, with close to zero food miles. Also when they were here, she had a diaper-less baby- no water wasted on washing diapers and no disposables- it really can work, folks! I watched with amazement.
Now they’ve moved north to mountainous, snowy Taos, and without funds for a high-end energy-efficient home, they made an affordable standard one green! Determination can lead to miracles! - Editor
“We have spent money fixing up our 1970s stick frame home- mainly with insulation (cellulose in the upper crawl, fiberglass below, and rigid foam- 2 layers on all walls), new windows, and a passive solar sunroom. We have not yet needed heat from natural gas, and the house remains in the 60s even in the morning when it is in the 20s outside. “
From Betsy’s email on 10 23 2013.
Photo: Neighbors in 2006 buying local food at our cohousing every Friday from neighbor local heroes who farmed.
Useful book- http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/
October 25, 2013 Comments Off
Earth Overshoot Day marks the moment when, according to Global Footprint Network, an independent think tank, humanity’s demand for natural resources exceeds the earth’s ability to renew them in a year. As of today, just 34 weeks into 2013, we are officially in ecological overdraft. This year, that day arrived two days sooner than it did last year. It has come earlier, by about three days each year, since 2001. The per capita ecological footprint of high-income nations dwarfs that of low- and middle-income countries. The footprint of a typical American is ten times that of a typical resident of an African nation. China’s per capita footprint is smaller than those of countries in Europe and North America but still exceeds the resources that are available per person worldwide.
Officials from the China’s Water Conservancy Bureau walk on the fringe of a desert,
which has been planted with grass to prevent desertification.
(The people in this photo give a sense of scale- what an astonishing project!)
August 23, 2013 Comments Off
“My view is that what individuals do matters a lot.
The reason we are trying to get policy is to change individual action,
but if you don’t get some people doing it, and it looks a little bit less scary and more normal to people,
how are we going to get policy?”
Keya Chatterjee, author of The Zero Footprint Baby
- Policies or people- which come first? Politicians don’t dare put their foot forward on policy proposals that seem impossible, so happy, living examples become an essential first step. Folks on the forefront of change shine as models, helping shift societal norms and political will.
We all need to be able to look into the innocent faces of youth and be able to honestly say “I’m doing everything I can.” - Editor
“I’ve (Keya Chatterjee) worked on climate change professionally for a long time. Whereas before, I was able to somewhat unemotionally look at [greenhouse gas] projections for mid-century and think, Well, that’s something we’ve got to work on, it became a much more emotional thing for me to have a baby born in 2010 and say, “My god, mid-century is when he’s 40.”
So when she became pregnant with her first child, she dedicated herself to researching choices that would minimize her baby’s carbon footprint. “I think there’s a lot of things I see in my daily life that parents are doing, like moving to the suburbs, where they then are heavily reliant on a car, moving to larger house. There are these societal norms that drive people to make decisions that are really, really not good for their baby’s future. Certainly, almost everything we did to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint saved money and it was easier. A lot of the things that people tend to think would be really hard, like cloth diapering, are not hard at all.”
We restrict ourselves to one flight a year. We don’t use heat or air conditioning, hardly at all.
If you cannot get your local bookstore to get you the book- http://www.amazon.com/The-Zero-Footprint-Baby-Raising/dp/1935439650
August 2, 2013 Comments Off
- The first step to energy solutions is to not use it in the first place. We have numerous builders in Santa Fe who are building homes that are net zero energy, in our not-mild climate. It’s readily doable and affordable. Getting serious about not using energy is as important as which kind to use. - Editor
Energy free residences are not only practical, but they are the dwellings of the future. Let’s hope that home builders start thinking zero net energy as they design upcoming housing subdivisions. Traditional buildings consume 40% of the total fossil fuel energy in the U.S. and are substantial suppliers of greenhouse gases. An energy free home is one that reduces carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. When talking energy free, every solution is local and is dependent on the area. What works in sunny Los Angeles will not work in windy Chicago. To accomplish an energy free home, performance goals must be established that actually make sense in a certain climate zone.
What you don’t need you don’t have to pay for…
July 19, 2013 Comments Off
- I offered an adorable, bright two year old a choice of one OR the other. His face lit up! The answer- “Both!”
That’s what it is today. Big debates on monies for climate mitigation OR adaptation. Too late- it’s got to be both. Create a local movement OR work nationally to stop climate change? Sorry- both! It’s too late for slow change. We have to commit to both- community transformation shining a beacon to push all 51 capitols in our country.
Last night I had dinner with a woman who said she was so angry that we are allowing climate change to happen that she didn’t know what to do. I would have given her this book if I had had a copy with me. The Power of Just Doing Stuff is important to share because local actions are essential, doable and build the vision. Beginning and strengthening the transition in your town stimulates more change. Get as much visibility as possible. Shifts made locally are essential, providing living examples so that with prodding, soon higher level policies will reflect what you’ve already proven works! Be the model community!
Forty-three countries are transitioning. All of us can join in. Overcome those negative emotions of fear, anger and worry. Get moving and join others! And show the politicians they’d better get on the bandwagon fast. - Editor
Rob Hopkins‘ new book, The Power of Just Doing Stuff is short, easy to read, full of practical examples and buoyantly hopeful. There are a few big ideas here. The first is that we’re in a ‘new normal’ of an unpredictable climate, rising energy prices and a staggering economy. Secondly, there’s no knight in shining armor ready to ride to the rescue of ailing communities. And that takes us to point three – it’s up to us to get on with creating the alternatives right where we are, re-opening those shuttered shops, growing our own food and sourcing our own renewable energy. When you start doing something, you create visible change. A tangible social project, however small, speaks louder than any amount of promises and plans. Just start, and you’re likely to find that the community had the resources it needed to flourish all along.
To get the book- http://transitionnetwork.org/power-just-doing-stuff
To register for Rob’s blog- https://transitionnetwork.org/user/register?destination=destination=blogs%2Frob-hopkins
For an interview with Rob-
How Local Action Can Change the World
There are now about 1,300 registered Transition Town groups, active in 43 countries around the world, although we know there are many more.
July 12, 2013 Comments Off
- So what’s a real example here in the U.S.? For a town moving forward with exuberance, check out Daily Acts. So inspirational! And show the national level how our new world works. - Editor
Thank you Sonoma County! The fourth annual 350 Home and Garden Challenge took place on May 18-19, and was a HUGE success. In all, 6,756 people participated and 3,558 actions were registered. Wow! THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this the best and most impactful 350 Challenge to date. Together, we are making our community stronger, healthier, more beautiful and more resilient.
and for the clever way they visualize successful actions, which encourages even more-
and to see the various events they are sponsoring-
For more political action against fossil fuels- http://350.org/
July 12, 2013 Comments Off