Saturday, April 07, 2007

'"Conservation" and "Conversation" share the same letters'

I just finished reading Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things"by John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning. It's a fascinating book in that it tracks what it takes to make things we take for granted from COFFEEE, cars, bikes, newspaper, the book, hamburger, sneakers, etc that you use in every day life. I always had my suspicions about the impact and energy it takes to make these things, and to be honest it's a bit of a downer to be reading all this. But it also opens up my eyes.

I wonder why I care about the environment or my surroundings, I don't have kids so it's not like it'll be my problem and I'm not deeply religious. There is no commandment "Thou Shall not rape and pillage the planet," but then I catch myself. It's not what's in it for me, but what's right. So while Stuff is descriptive, it's also prescriptive in the many little ways people can make a difference. Interestingly, Alan Durning also has been blogging about living "Car-lessly" after the family Volvo died, much how my loss of my Altima caused me to re-evaluate my car needs.

A sample of the book is available online. Check it out from your library if you can.

But my favorite line from the book is "Is it only a coincidence that "conversation" and "conservation" are spelled with the same letters?" This blog has been an exercise in that conversation in order to get conservation. I've always been a bit of alien in the technology world, where everything is driven by the next great product. I tend to avoid "status stuff" because I see the damage excessive credit card debt can do to people's freedom, and I'm if anything excessively enamoured of not being told what to do. I'm lucky that most of my expenditures deal with food, good or bad and that it is renewable in many ways. Though mass market meat (MMM) has a terrible impact on the planet.

Let's keep conversing and conserving until we figure things out.


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