Fight the Power

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Part 2 – THRIFT STORE SHOPPING, UGG BOOT WEARING, ANARCHIST

I am a closeted pseudo anarchist. I don’t believe in  perpetual economic growth via the capitalistic excess of globalized neo-colonialism.  So I say fight the power: create alternative economies like the second-hand, resale, system of Craigslist; or the formalized bartering of clothing swaps, such as Give + Take. Rediscover your youthful eco-chic op-shopping self, like Jane Bloomfield. The problem with the traditional rag trade is two fold: there are huge externalized environmental and social costs with the fashion industry, secondly there is a veritable glut of clothes in the world – more than will ever wear out.

So do the planet a favor – go Macklemore and pop those t-store tags. I don’t know if we can get alternative bartering economies to bring free market consumeristic capitalism to its knees. But we should try.

Check out what, Oystein Dahle, former Exxon Mobil Vice President for Norway and the North Sea, says about capitalism:

“Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth.”

And the cold hard UNtruth we have been made to swallow is that stuff makes us happy. But we are no happier than our parents and grandparents were in the prosperity giddy 1950’s. After our needs get met, buying more and more stuff, means working harder and harder – ultimate result is LESS happiness, MORE stress. Add to that the nasty claustrophobic feeling as you drown in all that STUFF

Recommended reading: Ellen Ruprel Shell’s “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture”

Photo: My 9-year-old Ugg boots, a bit of duct tape and still going strong

Fight the Power

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Part 1 – YELLING

I believe in yelling! It’s cathartic and a way to get heard. Of course I am talking about metaphorical yelling – NOT actual yelling – that should only happen when fire is involved.  Though, ironically, the southwest of America has been on fire all summer and in spite of vociferous yelling about the connections between these fires and climate change, the XL Keystone Pipeline project will not die. Nor will the Fracking gold rush be protested away! These are two of the wrong kind of power sources for our elected officials to be backing. Fossil fuel is nasty on SO many levels, my latest Huffington Post blog has a brief overview… via 1000 words of controlled yelling have a look.

Huffington Post Blogger

I just became a green blogger for the Huffington Post. Please take 5-10 minutes to check it, make a comment and share. Let’s take Think Butterfly to the next level.

So now, in between full time student-ing duties, parenting, grocery shopping and keeping abreast of developments in the outside world in Real Time, the pressure is on to POST…. Next story is titled GET SMART, coming soon to a computer near you!!! Stay turned and “follow me” …thanks

I Believe in Underwater Statues…

It is going to take a monumental and CREATIVE effort on all our parts to address the environmental crises we face, and establish a sustainable game plan. Whether it be Jason deCaires Taylor’s amazing Underwater Statues as alternative habitats for beleaguered marine species; changing the hearts and minds of intransigent climate contrarians; demanding better of corporations and governments – because their green-washing lip service is NOT fooling us; and getting real about the true sex appeal – not too mention – absolute necessity of alternative energy sources.

When I first saw these statues I was inspired, delighted and had my hope renewed that we will prevail. If we all get creative and determined, we can do it! This I believe.

Here is the  NRDC post about Taylor’s “The Silent Evolution” – art as environmental solution.

My Objectifiable, Classifiable, Environmental Self

The first time I measured my PPP (planets per person – the number of planets it would take to support a world population of consumers like me) I was aghast! My family clocked in at an astounding 4.4 planets and 19.7 acres on ecofoot.org, which I could eek down to a 4.3 ppp with a bit less meat eating. But that is already down to such a razor thin margin it might mean divorce – just so my husband can get his three squares a day! We are a composting, reducing, repairing, refusing-excess-everything-we-can-family. But my husband travels for work and those hours on a plane really pushed our ppp count way up there. Now, if I take my foot of the airplane pedal it gets my planets down the 3.6. But this means I can only allow my bodily self in a plane for 10-25 hours a year, that’s one trip home to New Zealand. So I think shit, and re-calculate on myfootprint.org, with it’s more finely tuned questions I come in at modest 3.27 ppp. Which objectively speaking seems as good as I can do. But the quiz asked if you buy eco-cleaning products. Are you kidding? I MAKE my own cleaning products out of vinegar and baking soda. I’m doing an environmental studies degree and proselytizing with friends and neighbors to “save the planet” too! What about some ppp credit for that?

It’s all great on a subjective micro feel-better-about-my-big-ass-western-privilege-sized-carbon-emissions. And really what can I do about my footprint? Wear an old pillowcase like a house elf, start dumpster diving and squirrel eating as my version of urban hunting and gathering. I am the first to admit that the ecological paradigm shift isn’t coming quickly enough. We can recycle our asses off, but until the majority of first-worlders wake up to what our SUV driving, surf n’ turf eating habits, are wrecking out there, we are doomed. That’s what measuring your ppp is for, to wake you up.

A consensus of international scientists say we are moving toward critical tipping points in the Earth’s systems that could lead to rapid and irreversible change. The time for incremental steps – i.e getting my ppp down – is long gone. We need fearless and enforced carbon mitigation NOW, along with serious regulation of fishing quotas, enforcement of the Clean Air and Water Acts etc etc etc…

The number most touted is 2050, any projected environmental disaster way you look at it, that’s the year scientists predict the shit is really going proverbial. It is forecast there will be nothing left in the oceans by 2050, if we keep up current overfishing. When I go to the Santa Monica Fish market, once every three weeks or so, and buy my 2 fillets of Pacific Cod – listed as a Best Choice on my fish buying guide – I’m surrounded by people buying pounds of precious threatened blue fin tuna, horrifyingly wasteful shrimp and, almost extinct Chilean Seabass. They shop and eat as if there is no tomorrow, and ironically, objectively that is what they could be creating. I don’t feel sanctimonious going home with my little packet of fish. I feel scared, hopefully that’s a subjective metaphysical reality, not the objective truth.