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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Learning to Be an Un-Consumer

Learning to Be an Un-Consumer

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 477
Have you heard of "The Compact?" It is a group of people (and a yahoo group) that have made an agreement to go an entire year without buying anything new except food, medicine and hygeine products.

There's also a fairly high profile blog by Colin Beavan called "No Impact Man" http://noimpactman.ty...­ about his adventures in completely turning his life upside down (toward a post-carbon reality?).

Anyway, it reminds me again that "reduce" is the first item in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle sequence for a reason...because it is the most critical. Continuing to shrink demand (rather than just focusing on supply, albeit a "greener" supply, or making better use of "waste") is going to be an important challenge for us all to face, hopefully in a proactive and positive way rather than in a reactive, crisis-oriented way.

On the one hand, there have always been those among us practicing a much-lower impact way of life, even in the US! So the two examples above are interesting because they get alot of press for doing what others have already been doing for a while. On the other hand, if they can inspire a large number of people who are living the full-on consumer lifestyle to adopt changes, then I guess that's a good thing.

Sue McCormick pointed out this article to me a while ago, which also gets one thinking!
Ted M.
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 86
Interestingly, I'm reading an article in the July 2001 issue of Permaculture Activist about escaping wage slavery, which goes hand in hand with low-impact living. The upshot of the article is a course (Beth and I took it several years ago) that takes one through the 9 steps to becoming financially independent, or put another way, to financial integrity. The course was made into a book called Your Money or Your LIfe by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It is a non-judgmental way to learn how to get in touch with one's values, then plan a way to align consumption with those values. Very powerful stuff!

Sadly, Joe Dominguez died a few years ago, but Vicki Robin continues the good work at
Merry & Burl H.
Portland, ME
Post #: 61
Tim LaSalle, Rodale's CEO adds: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse. Here is part of my notes on a MOFGA conference he keynoted that will show up in my book:

The keynote speaker for the day was Timothy LaSalle, CEO of the Rodale Institute, which originated the standards first used in Maine for MOFGA certification of organic farms. Tim refers to himself as "an accidental futurist." He had no expectation or intention of becoming embroiled in the question of climate change. As he learned more about sustainable farming, he also learned more about the serious and lethal detour conventional agriculture and conventional culture had taken from sustainability. He began to understand how we are threatening planetary sustainability. He, likewise, began to see the important role sustainable agriculture must take in mitigating this threat. He knew that, as the CEO of Rodale, he was on the spot.

"It would be highly arrogant of me to think I can save the world, but unethical not to try. To the "Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy People" Rodale logo, we should now add "Healthy Planet!" Our mission statement now says, 'We improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.' It would be highly arrogant of me to think I can save the world, but unethical not to try. To the 'Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy People' Rodale logo, we should now add 'Healthy Planet!' Our mission statement now says, 'We improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.'

Tim pointed out that we must change not only our practices but also our underlying cultural mindset and assumptions to avoid the worst devastations of climate change.

"All economic theories measure growth, but constant, unending growth is a concept that is disassociated from earthly reality. Nature prevents it, as our current climate change and economic crises so dramatically illustrate. We must stop letting these theories label us as consumers. At this point we are not consumers; we are destroyers. We must reconceive ourselves as regenerators. To the three R?s of ?Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,? we must add a fourth: ?Refuse!? Our president is asking us to go out there and consume to get the economic indicators climbing again. We must refuse if we want to be part of the solution not part of the problem. We must rethink our habits and their underlying concepts. We must regenerate what we are destroying. We must relocalize our economies, reversing the trend to globalization. So that gives us three more R?s: ?Rethink, Regenerate, and Relocalize.? We must let go of the faith that technology will provide the solution; it won?t!"

Blessings, Merry
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 58
Eleqouent and powerful statements. Thank you for posting Merry.
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