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Posts Tagged ‘society’

Today’s post in 3 Quarks Daily about the sculptor Richard Serra, made me think about my not so long ago days as an artist. During my stint at San Jose State University, I spent many days at the foundry there, working on some metal sculptures. The energy spent to produce these things, is tremendous. One of the reasons I quit the art world, was my increasing unease with the idea of making the planet worse as a result of my work as an artist. Does the world right now, need more frivolous constructions made out of fiberglass or metal? I doubt it very much. Now, I look at Serra’s monumental steel structures, and rather than wonder, I feel . . . I struggle for the words to describe my outrage, the sadness of seeing one’s man inflated ego displayed on such a large scale. Such a metaphor for how he, we, all want to show nature who’s boss.

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I noticed this new blog on WordPress’s list of its most popular blogs. Looked like a woman’s blog. Might she be a new green girl blogging away, I wondered? Turns out, the girl is just a porn star, who’s also good with coding. If only green was so sexy . . .

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I just picked up the daily mail. A Loehmann’s flyer tempts me with its lure of,

‘tuesday, august 28th ghrough labor day, monday, september 3rd
CLEARANCE
end-of-season savings . . . extra 25% off
the lowest price on all read sticker items throughout the store!
LOEHMANN’S THE BIGGEST DEAL IN DESIGNER FASHIONS’

Just when I placed ‘no more shopping’ on the top of green priorities list.

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I was remembering a statement made once by one of my teachers in social work grad school, something to the effect that we are all a product of our culture. What is it about the American culture that makes it so hard for me to lead a green lifestyle? There are the obvious culprits: advertising, easy access to credit, merchandising, convenience, . . . But what about the more insidious factors, all the subtle messages that condone consumerism, and go contrary to the three Rs of Reduce, Re-use, Recycle? Listening to NPR business hour the other day, I was struck by the journalist’s excitement as he mentioned ‘Consumer Spending is Up’, as if it was a good thing. Of course, we live in a capitalist economy, that depends in large part on consumer spending for its well-being. What is missing though, is the other half of the story. This is the story I heard from Bobby Kennedy Jr., during one of his brilliant speeches on behalf of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Bobby’s take is that we ought to have a different kind of accounting, one that takes into account the external costs imposed upon our environment, as a result of our capitalist endeavors. If there was another economic indicator, that measured how well we are doing in terms of our carbon emissions, this factor could then be used to adjust our overall economic index. I, as a citizen would get the message, and would be more inclined to think twice before buying yet one more thing. What is needed is a paradigm shift, that reflects the new priorities for the 21st century.

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When it comes to green, I am rather passive. I wait for Prad to take the lead. One good example is compost. The remains of our uneaten salad do not belong in the garbage bin, I know it and it just does not feel right. Yet, I routinely dump all our organic waste straight into the garbage bin. I can think of many reasons why. When we built our house, we planned for recycling, and installed a separate recycling bin. And we forgot about compost. I could correct the problem and take upon myself to set up a system. I could, but it feels like such a daunting task. It seems so complicated, scientific almost. There are composting seminars, books on compost, special containers to buy for the stuff. Things were much simpler, back in the days of my grandparents. At the farm, I remember, my grandmother would store all the vegetable peels in a bucket, and throw them onto the “fumier”, a huge pile in one corner of our backyard, by the fig tree. The “fumier” was where my grandfather went, when he needed fertilizer for the vegetable garden.

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