Our Blog | Sustainable Living

Green Glamour with Franke James

by: Heather on 05/08/2008
Posted in: Sustainable Living

One of my favourite eco-artists, Franke James, has a new visual essay up on her blog about how to be green and glamorous. Like all of Franke's other work, this essay takes a fun approach to a serious problem - in this case the ridiculous over-proliferation of consumer goods (such as clothes) in North America.

I know that it's been years since I …

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Guest Post - Albert Bates

by: Heather on 09/25/2007
Posted in: Sustainable Living

Today we have a guest post from Albert Bates, author of The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook and director of the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Tennessee. Thanks Albert!

After a busy year teaching natural building and permaculture at The Farm, I am getting ready for my …

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Guest Post - Cecile Andrews

by: Heather on 08/23/2007
Posted in: Sustainable Living

Today we have another guest post, this time from Cecile Andrews, author of Slow is Beautiful. Thanks Cecile!

We know we're in a crisis on many fronts. In particular, we're faced with climate change, war, and the increasing loss of freedom and democracy in the United States. In my book, Slow is Beautiful: New Visions of Community, Leisure, and Joie de Vivre, I've talked about how our lack of time is a key issue in all of our major problems. Some look on this issue of "time poverty" as a lesser issue: We're faced with such dire problems, how can you talk about long work hours?! But if citizens have no time to inform themselves, engage in civic discourse, or get involved politically, there will be no changes. Our increasingly long work hours can undermine democracy and our work to save the planet.

But there's another "hidden"issue as well: the decline of freedom of expression in the work place. In Slow is Beautiful I tell a story about the president of my community college, where I was an administrator for many years, chastising me for criticizing the chancellor of our system. I wasn't fired, but disgust with his treatment contributed to my decision to quit.

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Guest Post - David Spero

by: Heather on 08/21/2007
Posted in: Sustainable Living

As mentioned, we are excited to be featuring guest posts from our authors. David Spero, author of Diabetes: Sugar-Coated Crisis has contributed this critique of the American, profit-based health care system. Thanks David!

Sicker than "Sicko"

I've never been a Michael Moore fan, but "Sicko" is way better than anything he's done before. He really exposes the madness of the U.S. medical system. But more important, he shows how and why societies such as England, Canada, and France are far healthier than the USA, while spending far less (44-62% as much per capita) on medical care. Even Cuba, a very poor country that spends 4 cents on health per person for every $1 the USA spends, has similar life expectancy and health outcomes.

There's a scene in "Sicko," where Moore interviews American expats at a dinner in France. They tell him how much easier and better life is for them there. Some express guilt feelings for living as they do when their relatives in the US are so much worse off. Moore asks them "How much sick leave do you get a year? 3 days? A week?" They don't even understand the question. "When you're sick, you don't go to work. It doesn't matter for how long."

This kind of thing explains the health differences much more than the medical system does. Health care probably contributes at most 15% to overall health in any society. Things like inequality, social support, stress, and opportunities to be physically active play much bigger roles than medicine. But as "Sicko" shows, both American society and our medical system are profoundly unhealthy.

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