Saturday, December 27, 2008

Talking Sustainable Living

The game's up. A wasteful, consumption-based society is not sustainable. We have been riding this economic wave that relied on us -- the dual-purpose consumers and workers -- to buy, buy, buy, which meant for many of us borrow, borrow, borrow. In the meantime, Wall Street was building an illegitimate -- and in many instances, illegal -- house of cards. Experts now point to super high gas prices as the catalyst for bringing it all crashing down.

Most Americans must now re-adjust their lifestyles and downscale their economic expectations. This de-industrialized, burgeoning Third World society and its citizens must begin to re-evaluate all the bill-of-goods (literally) sold to us. Do we really need all the stuff (i.e., cheap plastic crap) that is pushed on us? No we don't -- the game's up.

We will all need to re-evaluate what is really important in life. As neighbors and community members, we will need to have serious discussions about what makes a truly sustainable economy. Those discussions -- whether we like it or not -- will begin in earnest in 2009, as the economy gets worse. While the economic prospects generally are poor, I am optimistic that we can use it as an opportunity to begin the establishment and development of local economies that make sense, save the planet, and promote long-term sustainable growth.

I had one such conversation with Leah Patriarco of Chicago's Allium Collective, which is dedicated to sustainable and ethical living practices. We talked in early October 2008 when the Wheels of Justice tour visited Lansing. Leah was the tour manager and she was willing to talk about sustainable living. The interview is posted below.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

Interview: Leah Patriarco of the Allium Collective

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