Monday, May 11, 2009

The Story of Stuff, Reprised

Today's NYT has a front page story on Annie Leonard and her wonderful quirky envionmental video "The Story of Stuff."

For those who missed the first posting of the video, or those who just want to see again:


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Re-framing Citizenship, Part One the issue.

The other evening I was part of a discussion on President Obama's first 100 days in office (sponsored by the Gillespie Forum held at the Wallace Center, FDR). One of the questions posed was how or what structural changes will be made or need to be made. While this question was made regarding the current economic crisis, I think that a major part of the answer lies in re-framing citizenship.
For too long we have been the nation of individuals, only concerned with our own issues, material and spiritual wealth, following the rules and laws (sometimes begrudgingly, as is, paying our fair share of taxes). What we do is make our own lives and nests as comfortable as possible, with very little sacrifice for the greater good of our democracy, of our communities. Or, if we do volunteer service, it is for a few hours per month, squeezed in, or perhaps we just write checks to those charities and not for profits that "do good." Some of us have jobs that are in the best public interest--teaching, coaching, protecting, healing--but
For instance, without a draft, our military is recruiting those without a high school education, with criminal records and foreign nationals in order to keep our forces at fighting strength. Medical students are forgoing obstetrics, family or internal medicine practices and are going into the more lucrative practices of cardiology and dermatology. We have a major crisis in family medical practice not to mention ob/gyns. More jails and prisons are being built at exorbient cost, as YM& WCAs and other programs where our young can learn skills, values and compassion are being unfunded and closed. We have a fully functional prison industrial complex that needs more prisoners to sustain itself, thus, without these programs we are insuring that there will be inmates.
We also have forgotten how to sacrifice for the good of all. Even when gas was over $4 last summer there was very little self rationing, carpooling and because there is limited public transportation, there are few options to driving in many areas outside of cities. The moment gas prices dropped so did the thoughts of fuel efficient cars, car pooling and better public transportation for most people.


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