Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pursue Beauty - Resist Stupidity

I am rereading Ecology of Commerce for the Nth time and am once again struck by the design flaw inherent in our commerce system. Some human being, not nature, CHOOSES to include toxins in our daily products... CHOOSES to manufacturer products that can not be disassembled and recycled. And we, the oblivious masses, involuntarily CHOOSE to support this insanity by spending every penny we have to purchase these toxic products. But as Dr. Jerod Diamond says in his speech "we created these problems so we also have the ability to address and correct these problems." (paraphrased) Thus the second half of the bumper sticker "Resist Stupidity" but the first half is very important and often overlooked "Pursue Beauty."

Beautiful items last. They don't get put in the landfill. They are cherished, appreciated daily, and inherited.

Pursue Beauty - Resist Stupidity together is powerful. Too often we see the absence of it such as when a city council votes to remove a lovely tree-lined boulevard and replace with an "efficient" four-lane road. (Duck Street in Stillwater Oklahoma) Where was the voice of wisdom that should have cried out "HEY! We must not resist beauty and pursue stupidity!"

(Duck Street was a jewel of urban form: Timeless Victorian homes lined a street that boasted a canopy of trees. In exchange for this perpetual beauty we CHOSE to destroy it; we now have fast traffic and weekly car wrecks while discouraged walking, bicycling and street life. Let's rethink this trade-off.)

That elusive voice of wisdom is latent within us. Imagine what the world would be like if we all pursued beauty and resisted stupidity. Someday sustainability will just be the way things are. There will be no discussion required. No persuasion necessary. We will have a culture of sustainability or we will have no culture at all. The choice is simple but we have to CHOOSE it.

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