Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Community abates global warming

INK, the information-packed little newsletter Powell's Books publishes each month, has a commendable essay by Bill McKibben in the April issue.

McKibben suggests that the bottom line on fighting global warming is forging strong communities.

In other words, in the face of this global crisis, we are doing a lot of the right things here in Hillsdale—and in Portland.

We need locally-owned community businesses, farmers markets, strong community schools, excellent mass transit and community plazas, paths and parks to keep people close to home. We need to support those institutions and not sell out to large multi-national corporations.

(By the way, Wednesday's parks naming rights debate before the City Council may touch on this very issue.)

Mass media and mega-corporations pull our attentions and resources away from where we live. Worse, they promote rampant commercialism and consumerism that isolate us and are destroying the planet.

"The endless parade of screens," McKibben writes, "keep us occupied by ourselves. As a result, Americans have far fewer close friends than they did a generation ago. We spend far less time with friends and neighbors and relatives."

We are also far less creative and resourceful.

Another result is that, by world standards, Americans, for all their relative wealth, are not particularly happy. Many are stressed.

But as we build our communities, we are rediscovering the joy experienced by those who live more modestly.

Those of us who have traveled abroad and visited farmers markets know they provide staples not only for their customers but for civic life. We have felt the joy of congregation swirling around the busy market kiosks and booths. Here in the Hillsdale Farmers Market, and in others around the city, we experience the same joy.

I have often joked with some truth that Hillsdale does far more civic business on Sundays in the market than it does at sparsely attended neighborhood meetings with long agendas.

Here's another thought about community and global warming. Often communities grow stronger in crisis. The Rieke School parents will tell you that their community is much stronger today because the school district threatened to shut down the school. Many of us in Southwest Portland got involved in our neighborhoods when city planners threatened to impose rough-shod rezoning here.

I'll venture to guess that global warming, for all its troubling consequences, will create challenges that will draw us together and ultimately make us stronger. The crisis will force us to weigh and choose what is truly important: our own selfish, dispiriting needs or those of the planet and its future.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


In response to your post on Bill McKibben, Consumerism, local living and Environmental Crisis I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links :




12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw McKibben speak at Powell's and am currently reading Deep Economy, which I highly, highly recommend. He also cites some interesting research on the general level of happiness in this country...it's been on the decline since 1958! We feel an urgent need for more wealth and material goods, but it's not making us any happier. We also know more about celebrity lives than we do our neighbors.

Global warming has recently brought me in contact with a group of SW moms who are equally concerned about raising kids to be kind to the earth and providing healthy households. We call it a GreenGroup and we meet at the SWCC and each other's homes to share ideas and goals for healthier living. I have already made big changes in my lifestyle thanks to these women...whom I'd never have met without making the effort to start the group. I'm hoping that other moms in the area will want to start their own neighborhood GreenGroups. The site, www.enviromom.com, offers more eco-healthy ideas for raising green kids in Portland.

Heather Hawkins

2:35 PM  

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