By Wendy Crist and Molly Brown
Progress in ours and other developed nations is defined in terms of continuous growth. Whether its GDP (gross domestic product) or profits and bottom lines, this is an unsustainable paradigm; at our present rates of consumption and numbers of people, the Earth cannot sustain us.
To quote Victor Lebow, a well-known retail analyst enlisted to help create economic reform in post World War II America: Our enormously productive economy () demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption () we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.
Yikes! Was that a prescription for economic reform or the acerbic observations of a sober man?
Whatever the case, we find that they are accurate observations for our time. And the irony is that the pursuit of material goods often robs us of the time and energy for what makes for true happiness: friendship, involvement in community, and time to stop and smell the roses.
We are in the midst of change, permanent change. In spite of media commentators, pundits and politicians continuing to talk in terms of growth and bemoaning decreasing growth percentages as compared to past performance, for the most part we havent realized that business as usual is not the solution. Circumstances are asking us to embrace a new paradigm one of quality over quantity.
So how would that look? We believe growth will continue to be at the heart of our success, but growth of another kind: growing communities villages if you will where all of what we need is provided within the community: food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, friendship and support and other essentials for living a good life.
Its going to take all of us sacrificing some of what weve come to think of as essential in our daily lives. Were all going to need to begin thinking in terms of downsizing. We need to start thinking in new ways: what skills can we cultivate that will serve our community in times of crisis? Can I live without that new (fill in the blank)? Can I find satisfaction and happiness in growing a garden, helping an elderly neighbor, or cooperating in other ways within my community?
This is change that will benefit us in deeper ways. How many of you were ever really fulfilled by money and things?
This change is not going to happen overnight, but it is time to prepare ourselves for what may be just around the corner. Dont worry dont fret its just how it is. Why not make the best of it? We may all find our less frantic, more enjoyable life so delightful that we will be glad for the circumstances that woke us up!

By Wendy Crist and Molly Brown Progress in ours and other developed nations is defined in terms of continuous growth. Whether its GDP (gross domestic product) or profits and bottom lines, this is an unsustainable paradigm; at our present rates of consumption and numbers of people, the Earth cannot sustain us. To quote Victor Lebow, a well-known retail analyst enlisted to help create economic reform in post World War II America: Our enormously productive economy () demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption () we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate. Yikes! Was that a prescription for economic reform or the acerbic observations of a sober man? Whatever the case, we find that they are accurate observations for our time. And the irony is that the pursuit of material goods often robs us of the time and energy for what makes for true happiness: friendship, involvement in community, and time to stop and smell the roses. We are in the midst of change, permanent change. In spite of media commentators, pundits and politicians continuing to talk in terms of growth and bemoaning decreasing growth percentages as compared to past performance, for the most part we havent realized that business as usual is not the solution. Circumstances are asking us to embrace a new paradigm one of quality over quantity. So how would that look? We believe growth will continue to be at the heart of our success, but growth of another kind: growing communities villages if you will where all of what we need is provided within the community: food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, friendship and support and other essentials for living a good life. Its going to take all of us sacrificing some of what weve come to think of as essential in our daily lives. Were all going to need to begin thinking in terms of downsizing. We need to start thinking in new ways: what skills can we cultivate that will serve our community in times of crisis? Can I live without that new (fill in the blank)? Can I find satisfaction and happiness in growing a garden, helping an elderly neighbor, or cooperating in other ways within my community? This is change that will benefit us in deeper ways. How many of you were ever really fulfilled by money and things? This change is not going to happen overnight, but it is time to prepare ourselves for what may be just around the corner. Dont worry dont fret its just how it is. Why not make the best of it? We may all find our less frantic, more enjoyable life so delightful that we will be glad for the circumstances that woke us up!