Last week, Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) suggested I read What’s the Economy for Anyway? By John DeGraaf and David K. Batker. I found a copy and while I am only part way through the book (chapter 5) I am both encouraged that there are examples of better ways to live and at the same time saddened by how far the US has fallen in every respect.
A quote by Robert Kennedy in 1968 on the Gross National Product (GNP) jumped out at me as a blueprint for how we can create sustainable happy lives:
For too long we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things……the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials……It measures everything in short except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the US Forest Service who’s task was to manage the public forests to “achieve the greatest good for the greatest number over the longest run”. And just as the authors of this book have seen, I too saw these words to be the foundation of how we should be treating everything on our planet; the forests, oceans, rivers, wildlife, air, and even ourselves and the people around us should have this protection.
If we extend those objectives to everything we do we can change the world
- Choose the greatest good
- Provide for the greatest number to benefit
- Over the longest run or time frame.
Today I want to do something different. In light of how much the US, and the world, needs to change to reach a sustainable lifestyle I want to introduce you to some of the people who inspire me by their efforts to live a sustainable lifestyle. There are many more, but to keep this “sort of” brief if you want more inspiration check out the amazing bloggers here that I follow.
Lindsay, inspires me with a long-term goal she has pretty much met. To distance herself from the supermarket. In How I Quit the Supermarket she shares her strategies for making the switch to local food producers. Breaking up with the supermarket takes time because our shopping has been dictated by businesses for so long we have to actively search for the alternatives.
Tegan amazes me and gives me hope for the future. As a university student Tegan is very active in environmental issues and currently has her own radio show where she covers environmental issues. You can listen to her first show here. Today she shared her thoughts on how to provide healthier food at a much lower cost by planting in public spaces.
Evelyn bucked society and moved from the standard sized home for a family to what she and her family refers to as the “shoebox” at 450 square feet, only 150 sq ft larger than my apartment, is a happy family of four.
Laura is building a tiny home on property without wheels. She breaks down the costs and shares that tiny doesn’t mean cheap, but Laura jumped through hoops to get zoning approval for a sustainable home. To reach her dreams she’s done a lot of the work herself, including laying stone (sourced locally) for a patio and walkway, and has worked as finances have allowed. She could have taken out loans and had her home finished sooner but that’s not her way.
Lyle lived as a minimalist before he stumbled on the minimalist blogs. He hated 9-5 jobs and explains what led him to create his own work schedule doing what he loves instead.
Swiss Rose has educated me more about the cultural differences between the US and her adopted country of Switzerland than probably any other person. In Who’s Lucky Now she shares how she grew up, the freedom children had and the safety that she took for granted. If we are to look back at the goals for Pinchot as the Forest Service Chief then how we raise our children will play a huge role in changing the future.
Wendy has taught me much about growing and preserving my own food. I have access to an acre of land to garden in where Wendy only has a quarter of an acre.
Cynthia is retired and trying to reduce her footprint. In Green she shows how she is cutting her utility costs along with upcycling projects that are both beautiful and useful.
Roland and Cheryl are as green as I believe any family can be from making their own clothes and shoes from natural fibers to experimenting with eating bugs for protein.
Now for something different, if you have a blog where you share ideas on living more sustainably or have a favorite blog that inspires you to keep on striving to do better, please share in the comment section. Only through a community of like-minded people can we make change happen.