Thursday, March 11, 2010

Innovations Towards Sustainability

Our firm is constantly innovating towards sustainability. This is an ongoing process and in the spirit of transparency, cooperation and co-evolution, we share our ideas to help others.

One of our recent innovations is to provide a bus ticket to any client who visits us by any means other than a car. We have a pretty large number of clients who walk, bike and/or ride the bus to meet with us. When they do, we provide them with a $2 bus ticket which they can use for future travel. If they don't need or want the bus ticket, we provide them with an option of donating it to social service agency.

This encourages alternative transportation while simultaneously helping an important community organization. The cost is minimal and the return on investment high. Maybe you could implement this at your organization.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Downsizing (Part II)

In my previous post on Downsizing I discussed my move to a smaller home and how I'm shedding over half my possessions. I found an apartment and am moving Monday. The anticipation of being free from my possessions is exhilarating.

The reason I bring this up is not to put myself on some kind of pedestal, but rather to point out just how against the grain this act is. The "American Dream" is about more and more and more (stuff). At a cost of less and less time, love, education, health, freedom, self-determination, joy, etc.

The path to sustainability is about more and more and more time, love, education, health, freedom, self-determination, joy, etc. and less and less stuff.

I venture to guess that probably 90 percent of my U.S. readers have more than enough stuff. Are you better off with all the stuff?

I'll be honest, more stuff makes me less happy. Sure, acquiring new stuff temporarily gives me what I call a "Costco" high, but the thrill is gone in such a short time and then the long-term burden of ownership (maintenance, storage, insurance, moving, repair, disposal, etc.) kicks in.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting Educated

I recently heard Richard Heinberg talk at the Illahee Lecture series and blogged about the event. Richard is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute (PCI).

One of the other Fellows at PCI is Chris Martenson, the creator The Crash Course that I've recommended before. I'm posting this again to lead my readers to some very digestible and important information for understanding our economic situation.

The Crash Course is presented in chapters you can easily watch in 3 to 18 minutes online. The course is 20 chapters long but I watched it over the course of a few weeks and thoroughly enjoyed each chapter. I occasionally go back to refresh my understanding of various sections.

Monday, March 1, 2010


affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.

I've been into social change and sustainability as far back as I can remember. I long ago concluded that sustainability can only be achieved through LESS environmentally destructive economic activity. I am not a compulsive consumer yet I've probably acquired, owned and disposed of more "junk" in my 47 year life than 95 percent of the people who have EVER lived. Am I happier because of it?

For a variety of reasons I've decided to sell my house and am moving into an apartment. My current strategy is to movie only those things I want or need, and am looking forward to shedding as much as 3/4 of my possessions. By moving only the things I need or really want, what remains will be easy to give away, sell, or re-purpose.

I've long been burdened by too much stuff. I remember the exact moment I discovered that fact. It was the early 90's and Vicki Robin ("Your Money or Your Life") was in Portland giving a talk about simplification. When she asked "How much is enough?", I realized my maximum joy from possessions occurred during my early college years when my belongings could easily fit in a car. Since that time I'd acquired more and more yet feeling less and less fulfilled. The truth is, most of my possessions feel like a burden rather than a joy.

I've been suffering from Affluenza but I'm about to get cured.

I know I'm an extremely privileged person to be in this position but I wondering how many other people in my position feel the same way?