Tag Archives: culture

BEYOND TABLET, T.V. AND i-PHONE

Recently I’ve been reading, Uprising For The Earth, by Osprey Orielle Lake.  This is a wonderfully inspiring book, with a subtitle:  Reconnecting Culture With Nature.  It’s not so easy these days, as the two have grown apart.

I am fortunate to live on the Pacific North Coast of California, surrounded by rivers, ocean and woods, where my children were also raised.  Frequently though, I think about the issues that Lake brings up in these quotes:

“What happens to us, TO OUR CHILDREN, in our urban centers when we experience primarily the smells of industry, smog, petroleum and chemicals?  What happens to our native ears when left only with the sounds of cars, telephones, freeways and mechanization?  What happens when our hands and eyes rest only upon human made things?…….Our human experience is dependent upon what influences our daily lives, and we are only beginning to take into account the consequences of depriving our children of direct communion with  the Earth, and all the plant life and creatures.”

 Uprising For The Earth

I know that we can’t all run from our lives in the cities, and it’s no longer just our locale that keeps kids indoors.  City dwellers, or country folk, I would love to hear about your plans to compete this summer with your child/grandchild’s electronic tablet, i-Phone, and television.  Thank you in advance for sharing on “comments.”

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CHOICES AND THE CONSUMER CULTURE

The home and belongings of a nomadic Nigerian family.

Let’s think for a minute about how much “stuff” we own.  Have you ever taken a walk in your neighborhood and looked through an open garage door?   In a lot of garages, in America, we no longer have room for the cars.  We have become a collector society for a number of reasons, to include financial stability.  Instead of sharing a seldom used item we each went out and purchased one.  Think about camping gear, gardening tools, inflatable beds.  In our family, a few years ago, there were two rototillers and one at the neighbor’s, next door – consumer culture.   Independence also breeds this type of behavior, but times are changing.  We need to depend upon one another more these days, to save money, but also to make a lighter footprint upon the earth.

Last summer I came across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that discussed the topic of borrowing items instead of buying everything we need.  The article stated that, “Social networking and smart phones have paved the way for people to share their stuff…….people who share information about themselves online are more likely to share their belongings.”

To read the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle, go to:
Buy it?  No, Borrow it!   The newspaper listed the following sources for access to borrowing, individually, or creating a group in your community:   Rentalic,   Neighborrow,        NeighborGoods,         Share Some Sugar,        Snap Goods   (This one has a guarantee).   Think about this lifestyle choice, the world won’t change until we do.

After years of maintaining all the “stuff” we own,  the simplicity in the image above, does have my attention.

GO GREEN AT THE POST OFFICE

It’s only a stamp.  How can it possibly make a difference?

It can, and it does make a difference.  Choosing these stamps, and using them may seem like less than a drop in the ocean.  But, there are no insignificant acts when we are working toward the goal of a cleaner and healthier earth.  Small steps can change a culture.

Each stamp promotes a way to be “greener,”  i.e. sharing rides, buying local, composting, etc.  And, the graphics are great!

Like Nike says, “Just Do It.”  The next time you need to get stamps, purchase these and start using them.  You will never know who may have been inspired to change their lifestyle, or at least to think about greener issues.  It’s all important, every step that we take toward a greener earth, and a healthier future for our children.

JOIN A CO-OP / CREATE A CO-OP

Let's Cooperate

Communities are facing economic hardship everywhere, but in the midst of these difficult times the cooperative business model is thriving.   The National Cooperative Business Association provides these statistics:  “Worldwide, roughly 750,000 cooperatives serve 730 million members.  Here in the U.S. some 72,000 co-op establishments operate, providing more than 2 million jobs and serving 120 million members, that’s 4 in 10 Americans.” The significance of supporting and using this model in our culture today cannot be overstated.  Who among us is not “fed up” with giant corporations who care only about their bottom line.  Obviously, every business needs to profit, but the co-op business model is about so much more.

Three main types of cooperatives exist: retail, marketing, and worker, but they all function primarily by the Rochdale Principles. To summarize, cooperatives are formed to meet their members’ needs, and are focused more on service than investment.  In our rapidly changing world, I believe we need to take a step back, and review some of the principles that were working for communities in the past.  I’ve stated several times on this blog, that I do not want to give up our innovations and technology; we are living in an awesome age, this 21st Century.  But, sometimes I believe we move too fast, and perhaps discard systems that are working.   The co-op model is one that we need to keep alive.

I’ve been a member of a retail food co-op for many years, but I’m becoming aware of myriad other options to be involved as a consumer.  I’ve detailed some of them below:

FIND A RETAIL FOOD CO-OP NEAR YOU:  Go to this website – Local Harvest
BABYSITTING CO-OPS:  Grandparents are babysitting ever more these days, sometimes full time.  Find a babysitting co-op near you, or learn how to set up one:  babycenter.com 
ARTIST CO-OPS:  Art Chain or The Sketchbook Project
CAMPING GEAR:   Mountain Equipment Co-op
BANKING CO-OPS:  Cobank  and National Cooperative Bank
Grameen America  You must read about the Grameen Bank.  It has made a tremendous difference in lives, internationally, and it is now in America.
COOPERATIVE HOUSING:  National Assoc. of Housing Cooperatives

The  list above is very brief, but will give you a sample of the opportunities available to get involved with co-ops.  If you are interested, the links below will provide more information about starting a co-op:

For a detailed definition of types of cooperatives download:  The Structure of Cooperatives.  Also visit the Cooperative Development Institute. (A great resource)  Or, download a Co-op Start-up kit.

We’re all feeling a little uneasy these days.  My thoughts often wonder to the future, and what it holds for our grandchildren.  A lot of things in life have gone awry since we (The Boomers) were growing up.  But, as always it’s a balance, the yin and the yang.  We still have the power to affect positive change in our remaining years, to influence the world toward better options.  I believe one of those options involves huddling closer, holding onto things like the co-op model,  and remembering the value of our local communities.  Let’s make sure these options are still viable for those who come after us.