Sunday, 02 November 2014 02:12
By Joe Romano,
— Henry Van Dyke
We're rolling into that part of the year when Thanksgiving arrives, with its festive overtones and deeply misunderstood history. Most of us know that there are problems with the holiday as it's currently celebrated, so why not update the festivities?
Everyone enjoys a good meal and getting together with friends, neighbors, and family. And most of us have much to be thankful for. Since Americans have already built a perfectly good holiday season, and because this is one of the better events in it — you can, after all, eat and fall asleep without buying a single present — maybe we should keep it around ... with a few updates.
The name, Thanksgiving, is fine. A day to actually celebrate gratitude would be a great holiday, even for those among us who suffer trying circumstances in their lives. As a youth, for example, Alice Walker had less to be thankful for than many others did. The daughter of sharecroppers, her mother worked as a maid to help support the eight children in her family. She had what most Americans would call an underprivileged upbringing. When she was 8, she was shot in the eye with a BB pellet. The serious injury left her quite self-conscious of the scar on her face. She wanted nothing more than to be able to hide from the world, which, in her mind, was that of a young, disfigured black girl in the racially divided South of the 1950s. After all, what could she have to be thankful for? Instead of building hate or resentment, she managed to write words of gratitude: "'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."
Monday, 01 September 2014 14:47
The rocks are not so close akin to us as the soil; they are one more remove from us; but they lie back of all, and are the final source of all. ... Time, geologic time, looks out at us from the rocks as from no other objects in the landscape.
— John Burroughs
By Joe Romano,
Issues like fracking, protecting our local biodiversity, whether local wine should be sold in supermarkets, whether Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) should be stored in the Seneca salt caverns, which neighborhoods get funding for what, supporting local farmers, and the role of the colleges up on the hills of our community seem like issues of the moment here in Ithaca. But actually, all of these things were caused by the same factors and each had its genesis over 360 million years ago.
You may be looking down at your feet and scratching your head, wondering how that is possible. Well that's a perfect response. In fact, look down at your feet right now, because that's where the answer lies.
Imagine that it's 410 million years ago. The continents have yet to differentiate and drift apart. High sea levels have flooded this part of what will become the North American continent, so you're standing under warm ocean water very near to the Earth's equator. A collision with the landmass that is now Europe has created a long mountain range on the scale of the Himalayas that rise above the water just to the east of this undersea Ithaca. The water around you is teeming with life. At your feet are seashells and skeletons of sea creatures that form a limey mud that will eventually become limestone.
From Slow Food to Slow Building: Bringing the Principles of the Slow Movement to Our Housing Choices
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:30
By Maria Klemperer-Johnson
Are you familiar with Slow Food? As a member of GreenStar, you likely know something about the movement that advocates a food system working at a more traditional pace: from production to distribution to consumption. In contrast to fast food, where industrialized processes deplete our environment, disempower workers, and produce unwholesome food, Slow Food creates a richer culture that nourishes consumers, the environment, and the people within the food production and distribution system.
As a builder and educator, I've been contemplating bringing the principles of Slow Food to residential building: Slow Building. What can we achieve by slowing down the process of design and construction, rooting our buildings in local traditions, and considering the impacts of our building choices on us, our environment, and the people working in the system?
Think of the ways that our building choices impact our community. Do they fulfill us personally? Do they sustain or deplete our physical environment? Do they contribute to a socially just economic system?
When making building choices that are nourishing to us personally, we usually think aesthetically. Most of us have made a self-indulgent choice to spend more for the granite countertop, or the extra dormer, or the flat-screen TV. Other less conspicuous, health-oriented choices are also worth making to promote our well-being in the home. We might consider the toxicity of materials, indoor air quality, and the relationship of our homes to our outdoor environment. Taking time to account for both aesthetics and the healthfulness of our homes is one aspect of Slow Building.
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By Alexis Alexander, Membership Manager
It was a pleasure to submit our annual member-owner survey results to Council at their September meeting. First and foremost, I'd like to thank the 802 member-owners who completed the survey. Your input is vital to the success of our co-op, helping us assess how well we're meeting the needs of our member-owners. Council and our management staff are reviewing the results to determine those improveme...