Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vintage Green

If you want a break from the unbridled coverage of Michael Jackson's death and legacy, check out the Relevant article, "Vintage Green," by Kaylin King. The colloquial web exclusive opens with a story about King's grandmother to illustrate that living "green" often means rediscovering the way life used to be. "Not only did (my grandmother) sew and mend many of her own clothes, but she washed them by hand, and, with great care, hung the clothes up to dry," she writes. "The neighbors’ chickens provided eggs for the entire neighborhood, while the milkman came weekly."

In fact, this point has been made by author Bill McKibben in his bestselling book, Deep Economy. As King summarizes, "McKibben argued that by replacing community with cheap convenience, our society has sold out our collective integrity for quantity. We have chosen to become families who work tirelessly outside the home in order to afford newer vehicles, bigger houses and lavish vacations. In the crux of this busyness, we are forced to forgo the “good” in exchange for the quick and easy."

I think about my own grandmother who seems a lot like King's. Growing up, my grandmother also made many of her own clothes and depended on her direct community for support and survival. When she tells me stories about "better days," it makes me wonder if all of our technology and creature comforts and wealth has improved life at all. Perhaps we don't need to look ahead to a so-called "green revolution." Maybe yesterday is the key to a better tomorrow.



Anonymous said...



Living Simpler - and even more dramatically, living the way they "used to live" (like Little House on the Prairie)...is so much better for everyone - not only is it good for the environment - but it's better for our health too.

walk more. ride bikes more. work hard in the fields and gardens. build things with your hands.

Blake said...

Are you familiar with Albert Borgmann or Jacques Ellul? What do you think about the Neo-monastic movement?