Wednesday, July 4, 2007


It's July 4th, Independence Day. Is it time for a new revolution?

No matter how disgusted I am with the present administration, and how disappointed I am with the lack of leadership from the front-running candidates, it seems unlikely that revolutionary political change is on the way. Lately, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what changes I want to see and how I can support those changes in spite of feeling completely disenfranchised.

Loaning a bit of our capital through is one way - a very fun and inspiring one - that we can help other citizens of the world gain or retain a bit of their own independence and strengthen their local communities. I've recently added links to the Kiva "Lender Pages" of our friends and family who are doing the same to the upper left side of our blog - check 'em out.

Closer to home, we support local small entrepreneurs - and simultaneously reduce negative effects on the environment - through our purchasing decisions. More and more frequently, the term "locavore" pops up in my reading - all over the internet, in books, in the interesting local weekly papers we pick up as we travel, and even in mainstream daily newspapers. The most common definition is that a locavore eats mostly food produced in a 100 miles radius of their home (locavores in the US don't get to eat bananas!).

As fulltimers, we have a real advantage over stationary locavores, since the weather we follow happens to concide with "growing season". Now, as the midsummer peak of the growing season approaches, it is easy and totally delightful to support local farms. We've been looking forward to the Wednesday market in Coos Bay, where we'll replenish our produce supplies later today and help strengthen the local food web in the process.

A passing conversation with a young organic farmer at the Farmer's Market in Hood River led me to research another fascinating organization: WWOOF (pronounced "woof" like what a dog says, and those who participate are called "woofers"), an acronym for "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms". WWOOF connects subscribers who want to learn about sustainable organic farming with host farms who need volunteer workers. If I had limited funds and the travel bug, this is how I would be traveling. Check out the fascinating descriptions in their "Preview Directory" and daydream!

Supporting local economies, changing the way we spend to help support the environment, finding ways to reduce the negative impact of "free trade" and to instead support "fair trade"... I just finished a fascinating book that ties many of these ideas together: "Deep Economy" by Bill McKibben. I like the term "Relocalization" to describe his prescription for the changes he suggests to help reverse the negative impacts of our "growth at any cost" economy.

It is not light reading but, like Al Gore, Bill McKibben is able to present a lot of otherwise mind-numbing data in a digestible manner. He puts our individual economic decisions in a larger context that has changed the way I think about what I consume.

Independence from agribusiness farms, less dependence on fossil fuels, interdependence among neighbors... maybe there is a revolution on the horizon afterall? I'm ready to enlist.


  1. Interesting thoughts, Laurie. We try to eat locally as much as possible too.


  2. I just heard about a firm in Israel that can make fuel from just about anything you can imagine, even including hazardous waste. Apparently it goes in one end and comes out the other in a non hazardous, enviromentally friendly fashion, but, can be used to fuel your vehicles as well. Wish they could employ that in this country, but, trying to buck against big oil in this country is going to be next to impossible unless a big enough majority in this country rise up and say enough is enough!

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron

  3. Have you read Confession of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins?That's interesting reading....