I recently bought some strawberry plants and had to choose... between frequent and small, or less frequent and large. Interesting choice.
And speaking of frequency... the first dozen podcast episodes of the Empathic Writing Journey came out every week. But the last two have taken twice as long. One reason is because the weather has finally broken in Chicago, and there is food to grow and trees to plant! I've been learning so much from working with Cheryl Ann Wilkerson at Common Threads World Garden (Episode 7), and Matt Stephens at Hales Franciscan High School's Food Forest. As well as six vegetable and herb beds my neighbors and I planted in our shared residential yard. So pending outdoor projects, I might be posting a little erratically, but I am here. And we will make it through the 12 permaculture principles, and beyond!
The 5th Permaculture Design Principle.
We are now at the 5th permaculture design principle, which advises us to "Use and value renewable resources and services."
When you consume things as quickly and constantly as we do, it isn't surprising that a "throw-away" mindset would eventually become normative. Consuming and tossing go together. They are companion activities that keep alive single-use this, and disposable that. Every little thing is shrunk-wrapped, and then placed in an oversized cardboard box, or some other form of excessive packaging that is utter waste and poor design. It's offensive not just ecologically, but aesthetically. Waste is ugly. Efficiency is beautiful.
How can we influence product manufacturers and shareholders to move away from planned obsolescence? Intentionally building inferior crap, with deliberately shortened life-spans should not be the accepted way. But it is, because we have not insisted on wiser design.
Planned obsolescence is a very common and successful business strategy that instills a product's break-down of function or fashion from its very conception. Unconscious spending -- making purchases without really thinking about them -- feeds that moronic strategy. Helps it to grow stronger and more longlasting while, ironically, churning out quick-to-expire product-junk.
When we take into account resource-scarcity and landfill-limits, it should be easy to see why hyperconsumption is a very serious threat to our planet's ecosystems. Building things to break is stupid. Being so easily manipulated
as to believe a skirt has a "season" is stupid. Skirts do not have seasons. And if we keep behaving so carelessly, we won't either.
Building power. Building community.
Second in our 3-part series on La Huerta Roots + Rays community garden in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, please enjoy my chat with Sara Ellis, the garden's volunteer manager. In our conversation (not transcribed) we discuss a variety of topics including: