While my favorite shopping option is Buy Nothing Day (followed closely, in at least two senses, by Buy Local Day – I succeeded with both this year), there are often a few people that we wish to get gifts, but we don’t want to burden with ever-more meaningless stuff.
This list has a nice mix of stuff-less-ness and stuff that at least helps someone and means something:
11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2011 Edition « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits.
Posted in Culture Change, heroes, money culture
Tagged friends, heroes, local, money, politics, resilience, stuff, sustainability, TATA
So much going on with the Occupy movement… I’m afraid all I can manage is a a few quick bytes:
What kind of pie? OCCUPY!
It has just the right amount of absurd, silly nonsensical-ness to it that it suits this movement well. In trying to explain why I thought this movement is so important, I realized that Occupy is a bit like the “uncarved block” from Zen teaching. We don’t know what we’re doing, and we’re okay with it. More importantly, it is only from this state of “beginner’s mind” that we can ever hope to learn and discover something truly new about how to live in this society. Or as the Na’vi say:
Lu ngäzìk fwa teya sivi tsngalur a lu li teya.
It is hard to fill a cup which is already full.
Keith Olberman had an important point in his overblown rant about Bloomberg. With the crackdowns and police brutality in NYC, Oakland, Seattle, Berkeley, and elsewhere, I’m reminded of what Gandhi (purportedly) said:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Not that we’ll win tomorrow, but clearly we’re getting closer.
This article clearly makes the argument that the efforts put into going even greener individually are much less effective than efforts to promote changes at larger systems levels:
Setting an example by doing some simple, logical things to reduce an individual environmental footprint is wonderful. But ultimately, we will not make up, through private spending or lifestyle changes, for the fact that we currently dont invest enough in public goods. Nor will we privately make up for the fact that much of our public spending is directed to the wrong public goods.
via Green lifestyle choices won’t solve the climate problem | Grist.
The one critical argument the author could also have made is the vast imbalance in the purchasing power and therefore the ability and impact of personal decisions of the 1% compared to the 99%.
Now, I’m not going to start driving or eating corn-fed beef. I’m still going to try to air dry my clothes whenever the weather and time permits, and tend the worms that eat my food scraps. Perhaps I should try to get over my guilt when I have to bum a ride, or buy something packaged, but I know the world is still a better place if individuals keep doing the right thing.
Sometimes a little take-out or a plastic tarp gives an activist the personal energy for the big struggle. The important thing is to continue to support the people who are working for the right things, even if they sometimes can’t maintain every ideal. So I try to feel good about working with the parents who spend hours in their minivans to drive their kids to a half-dozen activities and lessons every day, because they do also help the more important work at the social level get done. And I’m not gonna beat myself up for getting a pizza delivered now and again, and I’ll try to keep my guilt-tripping over new electronics purchases to a minimum (after all, we buy and turn over our stuff at a much slower pace than many people I know). Yes, Gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world,” but not everyone can be Gandhi all the time (probably not even Gandhi).
The system as it’s currently operating often makes doing the right thing extra difficult, excessively time-consuming, and occasionally dangerous. It’s the mass movements that can bring about the big shifts we need to transform the culture into something viable for the coming century.