Our local eco swap

ladies on bikes

I've written before about the merits of swapping clothes and accessories you no longer want for "new-to-you" items instead. The three top benefits are: Saving money — one of the the keys to prosperity is spending less/saving more. Eco-friendly — reusing stuff helps avoid adding to the landfill. Fun! — getting together with others for a good time beats solo shopping zombiedom. But while … [Read more...]

It’s time to change

An upcycled Bike Wheel Clock by pixelthis via Etsy.

Today I'm participating in my first hOUR Economy time bank exchange. I'm giddy with excitement about it, feeling like I've taken another giant leap away from the industrial economy. Not only that, I feel I'm taking a giant leap into the new economy that's developing all around us. These are exciting times. Time is on our side, yes it is If you've never heard of a time bank, let me tell you … [Read more...]

Learning what works in community sustainability education

sos

In the last five months, our small city has had the privilege of hosting two of the most outspoken voices on the Internet regarding peak oil, climate change and financial collapse. In April, Nicole Foss spoke to an overflow crowd on debt deflation and building ‘lifeboats.’ In July, Guy McPherson spoke to a capacity crowd on climate change and some predicted consequences. Both talks had the … [Read more...]

Collapse now — it’s all the rage (without the rage)

Fiddlers

American Empire provides bread, circuses, and all the toys we (think we) need, stolen from other countries and future generations. I can understand why people are reluctant to abandon the empire. In exchange for inhabiting a cubicle, you get to harvest the fruits of empire while avoiding any steps toward self-reliance. You get to shower in the morning, kibitz at the water cooler with your … [Read more...]

A GMO is a GMO is a GMO

Image: David Dees Illustration.

Quick: name the one issue about which Democrats, Republicans and even Independents all agree.  No, not alpaca farms. Yes, I know everyone would like to have one, and yes, baby alpacas are cuter than the dickens.  Try again. What’s that? Everybody agrees  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that food processing companies put on our kitchen tables should be labeled? Is that your answer? Well, … [Read more...]

Radical joy

tree

They are as close as the trash strewn vacant lot near where we live, as distant as melting polar ice caps – those places that humanity, both knowingly and unknowingly, has damaged. They can be painful to see and think about, easy to turn away from. Yet each of these places has something to share with us. How can we open our hearts to those places wounded and broken by human activity? And how do … [Read more...]

The time for action

Clothes pins

I don’t meet many people these days who still think that “things are fine” with the US economy — or that “recovery is right around the corner." The light-bulbs are coming on for people and they're beginning to realize that the current state of affairs is, as David Wann says, The New Normal. The Emperor really has no clothes. We’ve consumed our way past peak resources and the descent has … [Read more...]

How the UVA community rallied together

Suzie McCarthy

There are a number of compelling Internet memes circulating Facebook right now that speak to those pivotal moments when we either do, or do not, take action against a perceived wrong. A particularly urgent one is a photo from the civil rights era showing a group being assaulted by gushing water from a fire hose. It's accompanied by a quote from Desmond Tutu saying, If you are neutral on … [Read more...]

The Age of Consequences

Farmstand

As we continue into the centuries-old, but only recently acknowledged era of destruction and extinction, it’s apparent the current model is not working. Largely too fearful of individual retribution to disrupt the industrial culture that's making us sick, making us crazy, and killing us, we hang tightly to the only system we’ve ever known. Pathetically reluctant to consider what lies beyond the … [Read more...]

Transition stories: What is community?

Eggleston

One of the things that brought my wife Hannah and I together as a couple is a shared vision of community and sustainable living, and a desire to work for social justice and community power. But, as Hannah's mother likes to ask, "what is community?" Good question! In 2010, we bought a home in the Egleston Square part of Boston after living in the area for about a year.  With so many of our … [Read more...]