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Moving Away from an Industrial Economy

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd WrightHave you ever been inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater? This architectural gem offers contrasting spaces that feel spacious yet intimate. Its beauty and fame lies not in the fact that it’s an enormous, costly monstrosity  that dominates its site, but in the fact that its simple shapes and careful siting are organically suited to its setting.

Donald and I visited Fallingwater several years ago, and I’ve never forgotten my initial surprise at its smaller-than-expected size, and the exceptional feeling of livability. It reinforced my belief that small, appropriate, local, and personal is better than gigantic, showy, remote, or institutional.

This video from Doing It Ourselves (love their tagline: “never mind the system, build the dream”) offers a look at the unsustainability of the untethered-from-reality industrial economy, and offers a brief glimmer of hope for the future. After a painful economic crisis, of course! I don’t necessarily agree with every thought in the video, but it is interesting and thought-provoking.

Here are a few take-aways from this presentation:

“Why not try having energy security through lower energy use, feeling proud of feeding ourselves and making the things we need, switching our priorities from independence to interdependence?”

“We can choose to work much shorter hours, eat much healthier food, growing most of it ourselves, and ]we can] spend a lot more of our time with our families and friends.”

” . . . Permaculture is a system of doing much more with much less energy, and in particular intensively and organically growing food.”

“Distributed manufacturing is about producing what we need, close to home with nifty technologies like 3d printers.”

In the next post, I’ll consider how this fits with classical Christian themes of social teaching. Remember–a microbusiness can be a step toward becoming less dependent on institutional or governmental largesse.

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