Monday, January 29, 2007

I went to see the present-ation tonight about global warming and climate change, and I was dis-appointed that it gave almost no information on how we can change our lives to lessen our impact on the planet. In fact, it was mentioned that Walmart was stepping up as a leader in the movement to cut emissions. I have a very difficult time seeing how a company whose profits are based on the mass consumption of highly destructive and wasteful products will be able to do what is right for the environment. It reminds me of the "Buy American" campaign that Walmart ran about 10 years ago. The pressures they put on American companies stripped them of profits and sent most of their manufacturing overseas. So the "Buy American" campaign quietly disappeared in the black hole of ineffectual and distorted advertising. Anyway, I will have hopes. They spring eternal.

The challenge we face is enormous. Reducing carbon emissions will require each of us to change our lifestyles, buying habits, travel plans, home sizes and on the plus side of the equasion may lead us to live more consciously and with higher purpose than that of being mindless consumers in the huge destructive wheel of mass merchandising.

Maybe we will even get to where we enjoy making things for ourselves that last for generations, and that give profound pleasure in the making, the having and the using.

My Great Aunt Allene was a retired school teacher who collected antiques enough to furnish the homes of all her nieces and nephews. The bed I slept in as a child, and the secretary that served as my desk during high school were both left to my family by Aunt Allene. Growing up in a household of antiques gave me the idea that woodworking could be done in such a way as to last and serve with beauty for generations. Within that notion is the seed of renewal for our culture. If we were to carefully choose items to last a lifetime, or make them ourselves to last a lifetime, we would turn the tide. Walmart might not like it. Those who monitor our very gross national product might not like it. But our planet would rejoice. The photo above is of 1st and 2nd graders at Clear Spring School.

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