U335: U.S. – Use Less

Today is a celebration of excess in food all across the country. A holiday of feasting isn’t a negative thing in itself. All of history has been stories of feast and famine. What is so uncomfortable for me this year is that every day is excess food in America while at the same time more people than ever before are on food stamps, 30 million at the last count. The disparity grows sharper all the time within this country and it doesn’t begin to touch the disparity internationally.

The future demands we turn around our nation’s way of thinking. I cringe at how cliché every sentence I write sounds, but I continue. Abundance doesn’t mean we have license or that we have blessings to plunder and waste. I have seen the Depression expression in many different internet posts.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

Voluntary Change – Redux
I have written before about Your Money or Your Life being a transformative book for me here and here. It can’t hurt to again repeat the following piece subtitled, "Enoughness" by one of the authors, Vicki Robin.
  • I pledge to discover how much is enough for me to be truly fulfilled, and to consume only that.
  • I also pledge to be part of the discovery of how much would be enough for everyone not only to survive but to thrive, and to find ways for them to have access to that.
  • Through this commitment to restraint and justice, I am healing my life and am part of the healing of the world.
Ironic that I use the phrase, “the future demands” in the opening. In a transformative post (form me personally) titled, The Power of Limits, Greenpa writes:
The problem we must tackle: All our supply systems are designed to work "on demand". Turn it on- the whole world supply of electricity/water/gas/waste handling/whatever is plugged in and at your command, your majesty.

It's a design guaranteed to CAUSE waste. It cannot fail.

We need to fix this in our own homes, first of all. I've found ways- mostly by just being unplugged from the big delivery systems. There have to be more ways- easier to put in place, more adaptable to cities- etc. We- you and I- need to find them.

Even when I came up with a business model for my own entrepreneurial venture, make-a-plan, in 2003 I struggled with my target client. I wanted to provide services to the low and middle income person needing assistance in planning DIY changes and renovations to his or her home. As a design professional I’d spent my career doing space plans and working drawings for banks, government offices and the like. Most self employed designers realize their market was the rich. Frankly, only the rich will pay for design services because the rich can and most people rich and poor don’t understand the value of good design anyway. Design is often misunderstood as another word for decoration even by intelligent, educated people.

I am sixty years old and I have a fantastic idea for a verdant vocation, make-a-(green) plan, and other ventures; but, I don’t have the capital, the collaborators or a compelling reason to work that hard to launch a viable business. It is selling a concept to people who think cheap goods, cheap food, crap television and corrupt government are life. The prevailing attitude is it always has been and will always be. Instead, I blog to the dozen or so reading with some ideas and tips on voluntary change.

Sometimes I think it’s useless. Hey, I think I could recycle that – Use Less.

This artist, Matthew Carden, uses his photography in part to tell the story of waste. Art and creativity can communicate this desperate situation far better than the cliché statements I made in the opening.

From the series: "Small World", Matthew Carden's work concentrates on the essential nature of food and the action surrounding its growth, preparation, consumption and disposal. Married to a chef and working as a commercial food photographer, Matthew realized that his daily focus on food and consumption were in great contrast to the passing thought that most people give to their food.

Carden sets out in his art work to make viewers more aware of what they eat and to simply think about food as an integral part of our world. His photographs juxtapose figures with seemingly colossal broccoli, macaroons, chicken wings and the like, and speak of abundance and the ultimate waste produced on a daily basis in our land of plenty. Despite looming issues, the blurry, dreamy quality of Carden's work allows the viewer a whimsical space to enjoy the pure pleasures of food.

Via Inhabitat

Thanksgiving Chuckle by way of Mock Paper Scissors. . . Would you believe Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition?

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