Our national mindset seems to be, even with efforts at replacing fossil fuels with alternative energies and getting better gas mileage in our cars and other such incremental improvements in efficiency that the ultimate result will be to resume spending and growing like we always have on the upswing from a soured economy.
That simply cannot happen. We’ve run up against the limits to growth-and-spend and the carbon economy. We can still have a satisfactory standard of living in future generations, but those standards can’t be the measures of a successful economy our parents understood. We can have what we need, but our wants need a make-over and our accounting sheets will need to reflect the true costs of the things we eat, wear, drive, and use, from raw materials to waste stream.
Juliet Schor’s book on this coming way of living in relationship to each other and the earth is called Plenitude: ” a condition of being complete, having sufficient measure of a good or needed thing.”
Some brief excerpts from Schor’s book web site:
Our usual way back to growth — a debt-financed consumer boom — is no longer an option our households, or planet, can afford. Responding to our current moment, Plenitude puts sustainability at its core, but it is not a paradigm of sacrifice. Instead it’s an argument that through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can actually be better off and more economically secure.
And as Schor observes, Plenitude is already emerging. In pockets around the country and the world, people are busy creating lifestyles that offer a way out of the work and spend cycle. These pioneers’ lives are scarce in conventional consumer goods and rich in the newly abundant resources of time, information, creativity and community.
Hear the author at 11 am on the Diane Rhem Show on Thursday June 3.
Read more about the potato planting and Farm-to-school in Floyd County in the New River Current piece about the event.