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Chelsea Green Blog

You Are What You Invest: Achieving Joyful Sustainability (AUDIO)

by Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau, host of The Kathleen Show “Mr. Gandhi,” a reporter asked during Gandhi’s 1930 visit to England, “What do you think of Western civilization?” “I think it would be a very good idea,” he replied. Ouch. That is the opening line of the prologue of Woody Tasch’s book, Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered. He laments starting the book with a reference to Gandhi, but there’s no doubt that the above exchange sets the stage for every argument Tasch goes on to make. Following are just a few excerpts to give you a taste: “A very good idea would be a civilization that did not strip its topsoil, turn it into cheap food and highly processed food products of questionable nutritional value, and put its faith in markets at the expense of places.” “In our devotion to money, market, and machine, we are destroying not only the fertility of the soil, but the fertility of our imaginations.” But this isn’t just romantic. Kneeling at the altar of growth has not served us. A holistic approach may be all that’s left… and exactly what’s been missing. Tasch also calls into question big box, cheap crap that we support at the cash register and in our portfolios: “Products produced cheaply create ugly work lives and ugly households and ugly communities. Profits produced quickly cannot purchase patience and care. Patience is beautiful. Restraint and care are beautiful.” Tasch’s work isn’t just about ranting about what’s wrong or not recognizing the many benefits we enjoy by living in this country. It’s about identifying what we know deep in our guts to be true so that we get giddy and obsessed about change. So that we can’t help ourselves. So that we begin acting as if we understand that we are living and spending in a way that can no longer be supported by the earth. We’ve exhausted her. It hurts the beauty in our lives and the beauty of the planet. “Every investment we make is a statement of intention, a statement of purpose, a speculation about the future of man and his role in the scheme of things, not merely a financial speculation.” Is this the case for you? Do you know where your money is invested? Have you looked closely at your mutual funds and retirement accounts? Are your investments in line with your values? Because as Tasch argues, the existing system is us. But so is a new paradigm: “The solution lies not in the hands of economists and bankers, but in the hearts and minds and portfolios of every man and woman who puts money into the market.” Are you nodding? Listen to a 2-minute snippet from my interview with Tasch last fall Listen to the whole interview Follow Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KathleenShow This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.


Author Petra Kuenkel: The Art of Leading Collectively

More than ever before, there is a focus on new, collective forms of leadership—and an urgency to get collective change processes underway, all over the world. What’s behind the recent push to move collective leadership to the fore? Whether we find ourselves in societal or organizational change, it requires collective energy and drive to bring […] Read More

Author David Stroh: First Steps to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Systems thinking is often seen as something relegated to scientific and business analysis – economics, resource depletion, and climate. However, Systems Thinking for Social Change focuses on how to use systems thinking to make breakthrough progress on intransigent social problems. We asked author David Stroh how this approach can make an impact, and how readers […] Read More

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More

Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start.Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes developed […] Read More

Inside the Rise of the Local Grains Movement

Our daily bread. Breaking bread together. Bread and butter. These are all common phrases that reflect bread’s foundational role in our diet and in the building of our civilization. The stored energy of grain first allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to building settled communities—even great cities. So why in an […] Read More
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