Last night I went to a seminar class on the topic of sustainability and it has got me thinking.
I really would like to see change in my lifetime, and I think I will. Though I know that it is optimistic to think so. I would like to see more neighborhood gardens. Less lawns. More alternative building. Less pre-fab cookie-cutter architecture. More creativity. More tradition too.
We have weekly guest speakers and last night Paul Robbins, author of Lawn People, spoke. First of all he was amazing, and a great speaker. He has done some work on villages and I find myself fascinated. His conclusion is that change will not come from "culture" and that "culture" is too amorphous to be the answer. He also says that the lawns, our pets, and other non-human things we interact with compel us to act. And that the culture would change if we just radically removed all of the lawns. Interesting concept.
Culture he broke down into three segments: (1) base of knowledge; (2) practices; and (3) a set of beliefs. It sounds fatalistic, but he said that none of these factors independently are enough to create change.
I've been thinking so myself, and that the only true solution is action on a neighborhood scale. Community driven. But I confess I think that belief, and hope, can be highly motivating. Like Obama's message, Yes We Can.
Someone in class said that Las Vegas has a monetary incentive where they pay you by the square foot for homeowners to remove their lawns. Sure it is baby steps, but over time... I think change does happen, though so slowly. I want to live in a future that looks more like the past. I want my internet and my heirloom tomatoes.
This may be an optimistic morning, but I think we'll get there. God I hope so.