Our fears around sustainable living

Let me think about that oneI attended a nice talk this morning that tried to answer the question "what is a sustainable community?"  It and some other recent exchanges I've had reminded me that there are a lot of fears we have wrapped up in exploring that question.  Sometimes those fears prevent us from exploring these ideas fully, or from considering new possibilities for our own lives.

So I thought I would start an inventory of some of those fears, and see what else you might have to add.  By exploring our fears and understanding what they are, maybe we can find ways to help each other address them.

When we have conversations about living more sustainably, what are we afraid of?  What makes us a little anxious, a little hesitant?

Continue reading Our fears around sustainable living

Links for the Week - February 24, 2009

Things feel kind of in limbo right now, don't they?  What are you in between?  While you think about that, here are some links you might enjoy:

Another highway adventure

Trusty SteedToday I learned that the back seats of Ohio State Trooper cruisers are not at all designed for people like me with long legs.  In fact, to fit in it at all so that the officer could close the door to lock me in and take my statement, I had to sit nearly sideways!  You'd think that if someone is already being put in the back of a cop car, there's enough difficult stuff going on in their lives such that a little bit of leg room is in order.

About 45 minutes before I found myself in this situation, we were traveling down I-70 East in the heavily falling wet snow, gusting wind, and crowded highway lanes.  It was the kind of weather that should probably have kept us off the road, but if there's one thing that car culture teaches you, it's that nothing should stand in between you and your vehicle's destination, so there we were.

About six cars up, I saw headlights, and they were in my lane.  "Oh no," I thought, "not another one of these high speed car chases."  As I slowed us down, I watched the car spin out of control, cross over the median into the westbound lanes, cross back over the median and do two full spinning rotations, and then come to a stop.  We passed a split second later, and the driver appeared to be slumped over in her seat. Continue reading Another highway adventure

Local food issues panel today

Later today I'll be sitting on a panel put together by the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, and we'll be talking about issues related to local food.  Beyond some home gardening I'm not a food producer or any sort of expert, but between my work with the Clear Creek Food Coop, my interest in food / energy issues, and my efforts around making Richmond more self-reliant, I hope I'll have something useful to offer.

It's at 3:30 PM at Ivy Tech Community College, 3421 Johnson Hall - I hope you can join us.

In case you won't be able to attend, here's a list of 12 reasons that it's a good idea to support the production and consumption of locally grown food (adopted from a list produced by The Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association):

Continue reading Local food issues panel today

My someecards cards

I think I've raved here some before about the someecards website and how lovely I think it is.  I have to stay away from drinking liquids when reading it lest I spray said liquid all over the screen in choking laughter.  Many of the cards you can send are hilarious because they so concisely encapsulate some of the more crude or dark thoughts that pass through the human mind now and then, and in a way that somehow brilliantly echo my own sense of humor.  That's maybe not such a good thing...some of them - okay, most of them - are outright offensive in their very existence, let alone if you were to actually to send them to another person, so I largely spend time browsing, and then refraining. Definitely NSFW.

Lately I've also taken up the habit of using the someecards motif to create my own cards, which often channel some dark thought or bit of sarcastic humor going through my own mind in moments of weakened self-discipline, but that I wouldn't really ever want to say out loud.  It's fun because other people on the site will vote and comment on them, and sometimes even send them to their acquaintances (er, enemies?).

So, check 'em out, add your own, and send me a card. Or...maybe berate me for indulging? It's always interesting to see how it plays out for different senses of humor...how does that stuff strike you?

The Contractor Experience

(Some of my blog posts are constructive, this one is pure rant.)

There's a new amusement park ride opening up in town!  It'll take you on a thrilling journey through ups and downs of successful projects, communication failures, happy long-term partnerships, and total failures in competence.  It's called THE CONTRACTOR EXPERIENCE and you can hop on it today by opening up the phone book and calling pretty much any contractor you want to try to get some work done on your home or business!

Okay, I know that it might be a little pretentious or worse for me to sit on my high blogging horse and tell the folks who are willing to do some pretty hard, dirty work how to do their jobs when I'm not able or willing to do them myself.  But at the same time, I can't help but see it from the perspective of how poorly some of these folks are running their small local businesses, and how their customer service values take a total back seat to their own preferred ways of doing things.  Some war stories:

Continue reading The Contractor Experience

Obama adoption of "there is no alternative" stance on economy

Two lines stood out to me about President Obama's press conference opening remarks on the state of the U.S. economy:

...at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.

I think this is not only incorrect, but also quite counter to the "grass roots we can do it yes we can" message that got Mr. Obama to the White House.  If we accept that the only way to heal a broken economic system is through the actions of the federal government, we absolutely dis-empower and even discourage individuals, families, local communities, and regional partnerships from taking action, taking responsibility for their own way of life.  I think it's irresponsible of Mr. Obama to suggest that we must turn to the federal government's resources for something better, that there is no alternative.

Second:

Continue reading Obama adoption of "there is no alternative" stance on economy