By Donella H Meadows
I don't know whether to cheer or cringe at the news that the way of life my friends and I have been quietly crafting for decades, always assuming we were far off the mainstream, suddenly has a name and constitutes a trend.
"Cultural creatives" they call us, or worse, "trans-modernists." According to anthropologist Paul Ray, who seems to have named us, "this group has no established leaders, no professed ideology and no cohesive sense of community. Its members loosely adhere to humanistic/spiritual ideals and life-styles that are eco-friendly." There are, he says, 50 million of us in the United States and another 50 million in Europe. Our numbers have grown from less than 5 percent of the population a generation ago to nearly 25 percent now.
Well, it's nice to feel part of a crowd. Hard to get used to, though.
I know I fit into this trendy new category, because the person who brought it to my attention, cultural creative Peter Alexander of New Mexico, sent a list of the characteristic habits of the clan. We cultural creatives, says Alexander:
Alexander's list contains many more items, but you get the idea. If you don't see yourself as a cultural creative, you probably know someone you'd put in that category. Avid recyclers. Always trying to think through the large-scale implications of their smallest actions. (Let's buy only organic cotton! Organic bananas raised by small, grower-owned coops! Magazines printed on recycled paper with soy ink!) Contemptuous of the glittery arenas of politics, advertising, entertainment, multinational business and high finance.
Personally content, except for an underlying despair that the world is going down the tubes.
One glaring absence in this description is "politically active." Ray says we have "no professed ideology." The self-reliant lifestyle can be consistent with either the left or the right, but the cultural creatives I know are disgusted with all current political choices. They don't get into power games, don't give campaign contributions, and often don't vote, because there isn't one politician in a thousand who pushes a cultural creative agenda. Subsidies for solar energy and organic farming? High taxes on clearcutting, junk food, and fossil fuels? Forget it.
But you know, now that I'm getting used to being part of a trend, something occurs to me. If there are really fifty million of us, that's more than the total number of Americans who voted for Bill Clinton in the 1996 election. Maybe, in spite of our individualistic instincts, we ought to get organized.
Reproduced from the People-Centered Development Forum
sustainable living - natural living - eco living - earth friendly - ecological - green living
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