Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Once more, I don't have enough time to post all I want, but I'll try to do this quickly.

Everything is connected... that's what I've been thinking about.

When Colin Beavan reached the "no more electricity" stage of his No Impact project, he realized that some of the challenges he and his family would face are the same that impoverished people around the world face daily: keeping food from spoiling; keeping cool in hot weather, and warm in cold weather; doing laundry and other chores without labor-saving devices; providing artificial light after the sun goes down so children can do homework; etc. As Beavan writes on p. 170, "When you take the 'use less' philosophy to scale, you have to question its worldwide applicability. Because how on earth can someone who has no access to electricity possibly use less?"

This makes me recall what the Permibus folks said: any "sustainable solution" that doesn't work for poor communities and urban communities isn't sustainable.

I am working with our friends Johnnie and Michelle on a grant application for their organization, Heart and Soil, so that they can do more projects engaging youth in community gardening, provide more support for local gardeners and small farmers, and do more community outreach and education. Their long-term goal is to ensure that everyone in Pierce County has access to health, local, sustainably grown foods. As Johnnie put it, if something were to happen to the highways between Pierce County, where Tacoma is located, and King County, where Seattle is located, the shelves in grocery stores throughout Pierce County would be empty in 48 hours.

Speaking of connections, we've been talking about ours. Johnnie and Michelle moved to Tacoma about the same time we did (they came from California); they are also house-sitting; they, like us, have backgrounds in community service and youth development; and they, like us, really want to make sure that the sustainability movement doesn't leave out low-income communities and communities of color. So there is at least one reason we're here in Washington after all!

And speaking of Tacoma, it's funny how one of my complaints about Washington two weeks ago has changed. We've had a lot of sunny days recently, while the east coast was getting slammed with bad weather.

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