Growing and Greening


Went to The Museum of the City of New York this past weekend, with Butch (yes!) mainly to see Paris/New York: Design, Fashion Culture 1925-1940, but ended up spending most (I say most, because I also loved the 1980s South Bronx photography of Ray Mortenson) of our time in the Growing and Greening New York interactive exhibit:

“The exhibition will take the visitor through the course of a day-7 a.m. through 2 a.m.-and link routine activities with information documenting their collective impact on the environment, while also offering alternatives for making these actions less harmful to our world and highlighting innovations that will lead to greater sustainability by 2030.”

Word. As my favorite magazine, ReadyMade, pointed out recently: Going green has become mainstream! While some may see this as upper class guilt soothing their wringing hands with the salve of recycling, I think the more information that’s available to the public, the better!

This brings up another debate of common goals. While waiting to get started on my Horticulture certificate from BBG (and researching possible grad schools throughout the country to possibly earn my Masters in Environmental Horticulture), I’ve also been looking up 2-week programs where I can earn my certificate in Permaculture:

The word permaculture, coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture as well as permanent culture. Through a series of publications, Mollison, Holmgren and their associates documented an approach to designing human settlements, in particular the development of perennial agricultural systems that mimic the structure and interrelationship found in natural ecologies. (Wikipedia)

I’m all for it – except for one thing….every program I’ve found comes along with this commune/hippie setting, complete with Birkenstocks and Patchouli. No, I’m not being prejudiced, and yes, I get why it’s like that. However, while learning Kado naturally began with Buddhist meditation in the mornings, I don’t see why learning one particular skill towards living a sustainable life has to equal this complete immersement. Yes, to some a perfect eutopia means we would all wear hemp and live in trees, but you are never, never going to ween the New York woman off of her LV bag (no matter if it’s leather knockoff from Chinatown), even if this same woman honestly wants to help the planet.

What I’m saying is that while I should be all right hanging down in the dirt (I did grow up with a compost pile in Maine) there needs to be more of a sustainable bridge between people of extremely different lifestyles, because otherwise, the earthy housewife who happens to drive the SUV will take one look at the Valley of the Hippie Sun Permaculture Commune and assume it’s just not meant to include her. So what is the solution? For now, let’s say common goals may call for different approaches.


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