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Shopping for Wisdom

Recently I read an article in a women’s magazine encouraging faux materials over fur and leather.  That got me to thinking, because something about it bothered me.  Sure, I wince when I see a woman walking around in spotted fur that could only have come from an endangered animal.  But here’s the thing- the real problem, as I see it, is consumerism in general.  Say a woman has a fur coat that she treasures.  She takes good care of it, wears it often and for many years.  Isn’t she walking more lightly on the earth than the person who buys whatever is in fashion every season?  Also, consider where the alternatives come from.  This article was endorsing the use of artificial leather and fur.  I’m thinking that would be plastic, which comes at quite a price to the planet. By the same token, proponents of vegetarian diets and biofuels may not be aware of how many animals lose their lives to the growing of soybeans.


I guess what I’m saying is, it is great to stop from time to time to examine our habits and assumptions.  But before subscribing any hard and fast rules, we can all benefit from thinking things through for ourselves rather than automatically chiming in with a popular sentiment.

Regarding shopping in general, probably “less is more” and “buy local” are good places to start.  Have you noticed that we are generally referred to as “consumers”, these days?  What ever happened to citizens?  When did we become market statistics?  Maybe we can stand up to the ubiquitous marketing department.  Maybe we can fill our hearts with joyous experiences and our bellies with meat we know was grown humanely, and cover our backs with a few favorite threads.  Wow—guess I went beatnik on you there, didn’t I?

I wish you joy and peace

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Sustainable Initiatives

So, I was poking around in my computer and I found this post I wrote back in August!  Sorry for the delay!  At any rate, I still want to share with you what I found that day in my mail, so here is what I wrote way back when…..

My “Keep Growing” magazine from the Chicago Botanic Garden came today, and so I curled up with a cup of coffee to enjoy the pictures and drool over the program offerings.  One article was about something so great I had to share- the Garden has joined up with Kraft Foods to create a food garden.  ” This year, the Kraft Foods Garden is donating 14,000 pounds of locally grown fruits and vegetables to local shelters and agencies such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository…”  Awesome.  They go further, by creating jobs for kids who otherwise might be in trouble.

This article segued into another: “Corporate Roundtable setting future course”.  There is a growing trend in the corporate world to incorporate sustainability and environmental programs into their business strategy.  “Social responsibilities”…. can it be?  How great is that?!  The Botanic Garden is facilitating this in Chicago, bringing corporate leaders from such companies as ComEd, Baxter, Kraft, etc, together.  Here they are discussing topics from sustainability at the corporate level to helping the individual employee be aware of the impact their job has on the environment.  I am much encouraged because when huge corporations commit to the environment, success seems possible.

While I am highlighting the Botanic GardenI’d like to mention that I will be teaching there this fall.  Yup- “Acrylic Painting in the Studio” will be offered from October 24-November 21, Mondays 1-3pm in the Design Studio.  I have both taught at the Garden and taken classes, and it is always a wonderful experience.  I hope you will join me as I walk the class through the process of creating a painting.  I’m thinking I will use this one to demonstrate from: