Thursday, February 24, 2011

The impact of our decisions

From Amazin' Alison.

A dear friend once accused me of being an anarchist because I lived in a cooperative house sharing cooking, gardening, housecleaning, house maintenance, and other chores with 10 housemates. Our rent went not only towards our rooms and utilities, but our food. We had a double share of a local CSA, a monthly membership in an organic buyers club, and did some gardening on our own. We baked bread, brewed beer, and welcomed members from all walks of life. The Masala Co-op of which I speak is still happily puttering on, now part of the City of Boulder's affordable housing program and home to a dozen chickens in addition to its human occupants. 

At the time, I was highly offended by the "anarchist" comment as I knew some actual anarchists; people who chose not to pay taxes or who played a little too closely (IMHO) with ELFs (not Santa's helpers, but the Earth Liberation Front). I've always been a staunch supporter of participatory democracy, paying taxes for the common good, and freedom of expression. I may not agree with every capitalist venture or those who choose to drive HUMVs over Prius or idyllically bicycle, but I grant each human being the right to make his or her own choices in life. 

Granted, the right to make our own choices can get a little murky when the choices made by one individual (or a group or a corporation) start to have negative effects on other individuals or groups. Which takes us back to the definition of anarchy. Merriam Webster Online says: "a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government." I confess that my ideal (Utopian) world would consist of individuals who are able to work together to build community and support one another without the need for government involvement and oversight. We'd share community gardens and have proverbial barn raisings, working together for a better world. 

The sustainable living movement -- whether it be urban or suburban -- town or country -- has appealed to me precisely for this reason. We are a collection of people that thrive on shared ideas, shared visions and the freedom to express ourselves in our work, our communities and our beliefs. And so, the recent discussions of trademarks and corporate interests have certainly rubbed me the wrong way. I very much appreciated this post published at The Ethicurean on Thursday because when it comes down to it we live within a market economy and we all need to make a living to survive.  However, we must take care to do so in an ethical manner.  When any individual, group, corporation or nation does something at the expense of others there is a breach in ethics, and break with integrity. 

As you go about your day, think about why you choose to do what you do: Is it because you have a certain set of beliefs? What are your values? Each one of us is an individual. We come to the Booth from different walks of life with different goals, but I believe we overlap in our desire for a better, cleaner world. A world populated by citizens who work to strengthen local communities and live by our values. People that are concerned about not only the environment, but also ethics. Our actions and our words speak volumes, so we must act and speak with care. 

"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."  The Iroquois Confederacy


Rosa said...

What a great post! Thank you

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I really enjoyed that Ethicurean article. Thanks for linking.

Green Bean said...

Hear hear!


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