Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:08
By Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
— Doug Floyd
If you've ever sung karaoke with other people, you may know the experience. You get up to sing, oh, let's say, "Don't Stop Believin,'" by Journey. Everyone up on stage has a slightly different sense of the pitch, the cadence, and the timing. Some hold notes longer; some start them sooner. The four or five of you, all trying to sing the same thing, don't quite pull it off. Worse, when you try to adjust to get in unison, you end up even farther out of sync. The whole scene usually devolves into one in which each singer just starts wailing louder and louder until all in attendance are left feeling kind of bruised, and as for the song, well, you might just stop believin' altogether.
If, on the other hand, the singers are practiced in the art of harmony, everyone in the room will have a very different experience. Each singer will occupy their own vocal space and, though they're all singing different notes, perhaps even different words, they will have each found their own voice in the song, all the while remaining in unwavering relationship. These singers have found harmony, each singing a different song in time with the others. Those in attendance feel uplifted, because the space resonates with connection, and engages even those who are not singing. This is the nature of cooperation. We are not asked to all become the same when we cooperate; we all bring our very different voices, different lives, and different needs.
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 Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...