Here's my post for the APLS blog Carnival. APLS are 'affluent people living sustainably.' Everyone's thoughts should be posted by August 15th. If you're an APLS or even think you could be or wonder if you're a Macintosh, Gala or Jonagold, then check us out.
The inaugural topic was:
What does sustainability mean to you?
I started down the Leafy Green Road by having Depression-era parents. Don’t buy what you don’t need, pay cash, eat at home, sew your own clothes and use the library. I guess that’s the underpinning of my sustainable values.
Then I went off to UCLA and got a degree in political science and promptly put it in my back pocket. I worked instead in retailing, moved on to the entertainment industry, a little bit of journalism and ultimately into public relations, which I think of as a combo of everything.
Along the way I grafted some religious/spiritual branches onto myself. I learned about Tikkun Olam, a Jewish value for repairing the world. You start and don’t worry about getting it done. This relieved me of my tendency for perfectionism. Just do it. Plus most synagogues have some kind of social action/political action committee. Whoa, finally a way to use my college degree for something more than a plaque on the wall of my office. I think we’re onto something.
Then I had kids. I made the oldest watch the 1992 Democratic convention with me. I pointed out the states on a placemat decorated with a USA map during the roll call vote. Well, I did that for a few minutes. I was enjoying myself, but the 3 year old wasn’t impressed.
Having kids made me concerned about our future because they were going to live in more of it than me. Then softball and piano lessons and Hebrew School schlepping got in the way. Some years my ‘save the world’ efforts didn’t get any further than mailing a check to the Red Cross anytime there was an earthquake somewhere in the world. I live in SoCal; I know from earthquakes. I was stockpiling good karma.
Then the kids got older and learned to drive themselves to the mall. One was headed to college soon and I knew there’d be very few family dinners left to share on a regular basis. And I was tired of eating mediocre food - mine - so I took cooking classes. And began reading about Slow Food and sustainable agriculture.
I was amazed that our food supply sucked. I’d experienced terrible peaches years ago but figured we were just shipping the good stuff out of state. Then I ate some really bad packaged mystery rice meals and realized something was wrong with this picture. That was the last straw, well, the entire Bush administration was the ongoing last straw but woman cannot live by anger alone.
Now one kid’s in college and the other is in 11th grade and I have more time for me. I’ve pulled that poli sci degree out of my back pocket. I’ve also cut down on paper towels, planted a small container garden, bake bread, visit farmers’ markets, turn off the lights, sweat a lot (almost no AC this summer but The Big Heat Looms, I’m sure), hang the clothes outside to dry when not pressed for clean underwear, recycle the junk mail and all office paper and read, read, read as much as I can about The Issues. Composting is in the future but I need to get other systems in place first – i.e. – husband on board.
So how do I feel on my journey? Well, green is actually my favorite color. But more than that, I feel integrated at last. My economic, political, social and social spiritual values are valued again. I’m living the talk as I walk the walk on the Leafy Green Road. Where am I headed? Not sure but it should be a heck of a journey. Pack a lunch and join me.