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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

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Family cohesion challenged by sprawl and greed

by Jan Lundberg

A society based on private property and individualistic gain must put the family second. Which is to say, we put humanity and our own mother, for example, last. "Me first!"—what a sad thing not to overcome, once infected by selfishness as a child surrounded by materialism. The greed seed is planted young.

The truth is that love, mutual support and sharing are a far better bet for long-term survival. Here’s one reason why:

"Dying with the most toys" is harder and harder to achieve. That’s because of the trend toward ripping off the elderly. The grip on one’s life (material things, as it is actually meant) loosens in advancing age and physical infirmity even without diseases such as Alzheimer’s. One’s wishes as old age may take its toll are often twisted by opportunists. A conservator or guardian is not much protection, compared to a functional family. But it is a rare family in the United States that does not have at least one bad apple playing such games as stealing others’ inheritance.

A big reason for my believing this happens so commonly in the U.S., and to a lesser extent in other consumer economies, is that elders are treated as retired workers; they are not teachers of their grandchildren. Grandparents are tossed aside for convenience or because there isn’t enough time to care for them. Why isn’t there the time? Because we are elsewhere, on the job or in schools. Choosing this way is indicative of a culture’s questionable values.

Home school the child and keep Grandma home instead of in the rest home? Oh no, that’s not what the global competitive economy is about. But some of us question the global economy too, and would rather sing for tips on the street than work for some big corporation. More time for family, especially if they play too... hmm!

We are all so separate, and the nuclear family does not provide secure support, when all someone has to do is go off to college and never move back in. In the 1950s the GI bill and road building begot sprawl-style suburban development, and it was common to go for this version of wealth (actually mortgage debt). Endless paving undermined our extended family structure by separating families and encouraging moving. Automobiles made it easy to go "anywhere" and for junior to go live in a college dorm or in an apartment.

Ecologically sound land use, if not nearness of family geographically, needs to join multigenerational living and rejection of institutional domination of economics and learning, for a sustainable culture.

If the source of "wealth" is bad, some of us want nothing to do with it; not even a subsistence handout. However, mainstream morality dictates that we look the other way, to justify the existence of whatever wrongdoing done by society at large. We say, "But the U.S.A. is not all bad." True, but that’s not the point.

One might take this as more evidence of a trend: that being part of today’s mainstream may mean not fully knowing what is right from wrong. Doing nothing, when ameliorative action is in order, can be the same as doing something wrong or immoral.

Losing one’s home after raising a family and building an estate, can happen to anyone: There is less and less security. Is there no real family, just the dollar (if you’ve been lucky to hold onto it)? Goes to show you that the dollar and its system—this society and culture—ain’t sustainable.

I love my mother, and consider her to be a fine roommate. Fun to be around.

Mesa Lundberg’s wisdom—such as the history of her family (e.g., her father Jesse Dobson’s installation of their wood-lined root cellar on their sheep ranch in Idaho) is yet to be properly transmitted to the family’s young. It is they who need to learn it, from an honored elder, if we are to have a sustainable culture. 


  When families are commonly behaving in such ways, it is clear that we need a culture change! 

For a new approach to elder care, see Health Care Tribe, Culture Change e-Letter #8.  For more information read: Sustainability Starts With Family Solidarity.


Articles of interest:
War on plastic  -  Rejecting the toxic plague by Jan Lundberg

Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

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Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit organization.