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Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Review - Deep Economy

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver led me to my latest read, Deep Economy by Bill McKibben. Barbara did an incredible job of laying out the local food consumption lifestyle and in the process, talks about what’s going on in the rest of the world and why it’s important to eat local and organic. Deep Economy is also about keeping it local, but more on a global scale and more about economies and how communities can work together to sustain themselves and not rely on depleting resources, i.e., oil. This is a book I’d recommend to folks who are involved in their community and aren’t afraid to start a “movement” so to speak. It’s for involved townspeople who show up at town meetings and voice their opinions on a regular basis. Its for government policy people looking for “cutting edge” ways to support communities. Then again, its also for people who simply want to know what’s possible on a community level, and want to know what NOT to do. For example, after you read the chapter about manufacturing in China, you may never purchase another product made in China again. I found it disheartening how that country treats its people and how the people listen to the communist government and how they will leave their families to work in the plants for pennies, food, and shelter. How that country is depleting nearly all its resources including forest and water – all for the love of unnecessary junk Americans buy and stock up on, only to eventually be thrown in a landfill. Not to mention the impact on the earth of producing the product and then shipping thousands of miles to America. On the flipside, there are very small pockets of Chinese trying to make it on their own through local sustainability, but its extremely hard for them. That’s the part that struck home – the comparison to very poor people and countries and the affluent Americans. We Americans are wealthy beyond our wildest dreams in numerous ways - to the point of too much – way too much. I’m a typical example when only two years ago I didn’t think twice about dropping $2,000 on a bicycle or even a year ago when I bought $200 boots (of which my husband had a hissy fit over and now I totally understand why!). I now look at these really bad spending habits as ludicrous after reading Deep Economy and wouldn’t think of doing such a thing again – ever! I’m now a full-time second-hand store shopper or better yet – ask myself if Ineed it in the first place! The Chapters on communities that are shining examples of sustainable living are interesting to read about also. Burlington, Vermont is talked about a lot – they have their own energy and even their own local money that is used as payment for local taxes and locally produced food. And every time the author talked about community involvement, I compared his stories with my own neighbors – the Amish – whom have a deep loyalty to each other and their community, and work tirelessly on the farms and basically do everything local as much as possible. Deep Economy was a hard read for me, and the only thing that held my interest in it is my government employment in community and economic development and my current quest to learn about staying local as much as possible. But I learned a great deal on this one and already am practicing cost and energy savings ways. This book led me to Crunchy Chicken -- an incredibly inspirational blog on living green. It led me to Greenpa – a biologist who’s been off-the-grid for 31 years who has curious ways of living (no refrigerator? no indoor toilet?)! And it led me to my next book – Depletion and Abundance which is about green living after the possibility of our oil being depleted. Crunchy Chicken does an on-line book review every two weeks - and the next one is October 28 if you want to post comments! I would highly recommend Deep Economy if you want to challenge your local sustainability knowledge and learn new ways other than eating locally to keep-it-local.

1 comment:

DailySAHM said...

I'll be checking out this book... thanks!