Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is a very snowy day in Northwest Arkansas. We have just over 2 inches of snow on the ground and expect another 5 to 10. School is canceled for today and probably tomorrow as well. Our rugged terrain, steep hills and winding roads makes gathering at schools for classes a danger to be avoided when things get this bad. I get to spend the day in the wood shop. With a fire in the wood stove, I'll make boxes. If the power goes out, I'll clean for next weekend when I will have a bus load of arts patrons from Little Rock come to visit my studio as part of a tour.

On the news this morning they told about the marketing of fake "green" products designed to take advantage of the public belief they can save the world by buying stuff. We have this strange notion that by buying more and more stuff we can make a difference. At Walmart this week, it seems the big center isle sale is on storage containers in all shapes and sizes. We can buy big plastic boxes so that we have places to put all the other things we buy but have little use for.

At the University of Arkansas this week they are having a "green" conference this week suggesting ways we can reduce our personal carbon footprints by up to 2 percent. But, sorry, folks, with the US leading the world in unnecessary consumption and wasteful energy use, 2 percent is not enough. It can be hard to sort the truly green from slime.

What if, instead of buying big plastic boxes to put our stuff in, we didn't buy the stuff in the first place? What if instead of spending time shopping for things we think we need but really don't, we spent time making things instead? It wouldn't measure as contributing to the economy, but it would measure in the quality of our lives. This is a scary idea to those whose lives of excess are sustained by the excesses of the American consumer culture, but not a bad idea for those who wish to live in greater harmony with the natural environment and each other. Now, that is enough preachy stuff for one day. It is time to warm up the shop.

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