Why "Growing Edge?"

Hey! Life is amazing and if you aren't paying attention, it just may be passing you by. Slow down! Observe what is around you. Plant a garden. Make your own food. Create Beauty.

Welcome to our blog. We love discovering what Earth has to teach anyone willing to be on the Growing Edge of life.

--Denise Rushing, New Story Center

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Where is the Common Ground?

It seems to me that one can best understand the soul of a nation by looking at how public resources are allocated, and especially how and why a nation decides to reallocate resources. Our national budget is an indicator of our values as a people.

With that in mind, we can take a look at the budget submitted by this administration. At the highest level we see this: tax cuts for the weathiest americans are made permanent, while programs for the weak and vulnerable, programs protecting the commons (our land, water and air) and our cultural heritage, including our national parks, are cut dramatically. This budget promises deficit spending for years to come and continued military action.

Regardless of how one feels about this war, I think we can all agree that it has been a costly one both financially and in our standing in the eyes of the world. Most of us do not want to acknowledge that day in and day out, violence and torture continues in our name. We do not like it, and many of us suspect it is counterproductive. Can most Americans agree that we would rather fund positive expressions of our values?

Can most Americans also agree that protecting our natural world matters to us? That deficit spending and destroying our air, water and common spaces and cultural heritage are ways of mortgaging our children and grandchildren's future? Can we agree that how we spend our public money is a reflection of our common values? Is cutting taxes to the rich so that we can deficit-spend on war while cutting culture, environmental protection and programs for the vulnerable the legacy we wish to leave to future generations?

We must demand that our government act on our behalf. As a democracy, our government represents US. Please urge congress to reject this budget, and further, to reject this administration's efforts to dismantle social security and environmental law.

We can do better.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Altruism vs. Reality

Our refrigerator broke this week. Just like that. As far as I can tell, the unit is only five years old--it is a massive thing with ice and filtered water available through the door and lots of high-tech buttons. The repairman said the compressor is shot, the unit cannot be fixed.

So we are in the market for a new refrigerator. While Renee and I store our milk and butter in an icecooler on the deck, I am researching the next large appliance to enter our home. The refrigerator is the third largest energy using item in our lives, next to our cars and our home heating/cooling unit.

A few facts: a side-by-side uses 1.5 times more energy than a top/bottom refrigerator-freezer. And there are Energy-star rated appliances versus those that cost just a little less. So, as an energy-conscious consumer, I am avoiding the side-by-side and looking for the Energy-star rating. This is a good move, and cost-effective too.

Here's the problem: there are super super energy efficient units out there, the most well known is called Sun-Frost. I wanted to buy one for the sake of Earth. Sadly, I am NOT buying a Sun-Frost. Why? Because the comparable 110V unit available from alternative energy places costs $2800--well over $2000 more than the standard Energy-star version at Sears. Granted, the Sun-Frost uses 85% less electricity. By my calculations, the unit would pay for itself in energy savings in.... 33 years. Renee said she'll probably be dead by then.

Reality intrudes on my idealism... again. And, of course, I am a proud member of the reality-based community.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an ecological design framework inspired by living systems. The ethics, root practices and principles in permaculture can be applied to the garden, the farm, and indeed any living system including human structures.