Rebecca Solnit on the current opportunity

I really like Rebecca Solnit's writing. I've got Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism, and I filed a copy of an essay she wrote about the future of bio-regionalism in the U.S. And I would still like to read her book Wanderlust: A History of Walking. It came out around the time when I had less time for walking the streets of San Francisco, which I did for years when we didn't have a car and I could walk to work.

Anyway, today Common Dreams carried an essay she wrote for Orion Magazine, "Elegy for a Toxic Logic: And carpe diem for what comes next." I highly recommend it!
» Click for Common Dreams link
» Click for Orion Magazine link

Sample quote:
A decline in snowmobile purchases, overseas vacations, new construction, and so forth is very good news for the environment. The madness of postwar affluence is fading, and Americans are beginning to make very different choices about debt, consumption, and other acts of economic overconfidence-though of course desperation remains unevenly distributed...

And a second one:
[We have] an opportunity to supply a different logic, one of modesty, prudence, long-term vision, solidarity-and pleasure: all the pleasures that were not being brought to us by a system whose highest achievement was represented by endless aisles of shoddy goods made in countless sweatshops on the other side of the world.


Martin Kelley said...

I have to admit I'm suddenly smiling when I see the "Coming Soon! 300 Luxury Homes!!" signs on the empty farms and mutter back "not in this economic cycle!"

I can't laugh too long, though, since I just lost a small but not insignificant part of my income that comes from real estate developers (someone has to make their websites, right?). Last night I finished the New Yorker article on the real estate crash in Southwest Florida, The Ponzi State, and was reminded how it's not just the snowmobiling class that goes down in times like these. I wonder how my old pals at the bottom-of-the-barrel job I had a year ago are doing and whether it's a matter of time before those of us on the edge start slipping down again. The Great Depression was a time of frugality and probably a good thing from an environmental standpoint but I don't get the impression it was a barrel full of fun.

Chris M. said...

Martin -- I know just what those empty farms are like. Where my mom used to live in Ocean County, there was a lot of that kind of sprawl that did get built in the last decade.

Thanks for pointing out the impact on "the least of these." Ain't that the truth. People who lost millions to Bernie Madoff still have status and many have income or other savings. People who work for minimum wage or just above don't have as much to fall back on, in a material dimension, that is.

Chris M. said...

Here's a piece that makes your point perfectly, in this case with Safeway Inc.:

Dave Lindorff:
Organize! Many Employers Are Just Using the Recession to Stick it to Workers