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Consumerism

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Magic-Makers Of Havana

In a globalized world of interlocking economies, is it possible for a culture to evolve at its own pace, or does change come in only two packages: fast-tracked by corporate-sponsored leaders, or arrested entirely by dictators and juntas? I’ve seen savvy indigenous communities in Ecuador and Chiapas, Mexico, incorporate what they like of the outside world and reject the rest, but can this be done on the scale of an entire country? Is there even a possibility that Cuba can preserve its culture while opening to the world, to dissent, to change?

By Marisa Handler October 2008
The Sun Interview

How Many Americans Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Joan Ogden On The Nation’s Uncertain Energy Future

Getting back to the federal level: There is currently a suppression of politically unacceptable views on energy. For example, scientists who work on global warming are being told not to talk to the press. The Environmental Protection Agency issues an annual report on air pollutants and their impact. A few years ago, when the draft of the report included greenhouse gases — the kind that contribute to global warming — the information was pulled by the Bush administration.

By Gillian Kendall August 2007
Quotations

Sunbeams

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.

Major General Smedley Butler

March 2007
The Sun Interview

Dream A Little Dream

Bill McKibben On Reforming Our Supersized Society

The real struggle is to get past the notion of growth as our reason for being, which has dominated our culture since World War II. It’s the organizing principle for government policy and most other institutions in our society, including higher education. This is not a tenable model anymore. When you consider global warming, peak oil, and the diverging fortunes of rich and poor nations, it gets harder and harder to maintain this fervent, Alan Greenspan belief that if we continue to increase the size of the system, all will be well.

By Alexis Adams October 2006
The Sun Interview

Against The Current

Barry Lopez On Writing About Nature And The Nature Of Writing

I’ve become acutely aware of the political danger the country is in. The champions of material wealth, the acolytes of technology, and the religious extremists are so loud, so bellicose, so uncompromising. Who will rein them in? Who’s not afraid to criticize their notions of “progress”?

By Michael Shapiro June 2006
Quotations

Sunbeams

I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world. Perhaps you’ve seen it.

Steven Wright

June 2005
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Driven By Desire

The first sharp pang of desire hit me in the parking lot of my daughter’s preschool. It was a cold winter day in North Carolina, and as I buckled my seat belt, another mother maneuvered her gleaming new Volvo station wagon into the space beside my 1992 Honda Civic. She smiled and gestured for me to roll down my window so we could talk.

By Krista Bremer June 2005
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Wash Your Bowls

There’s an old Zen story that I like very much: A monk comes to the monastery of the storied Master Zhaozho. Diligent and serious, the monk asks for instruction, hoping for some esoteric teaching, some deep Buddhist wisdom, or, at the very least, a colorful response that will spur him on in his practice. Instead the master asks him, “Have you had your breakfast yet?” The monk says that he has. “Then wash your bowls,” the master replies. This is the only instruction he is willing to offer.

By Norman Fischer June 2005
Readers Write

Possessions

Walking around the block after sunset in pj’s and bathrobe, hoarding corks in a million-dollar house, trading wedding crystal for a minitoilet

By Our Readers June 2005