Association of Olopenses Women provides economic empowerment to rural Guatemalan workers

Real solutions, such as building an organization like the AMO, require time to build trust and relationships. It also means overcoming the legacy of failed government and nonprofit promises to impoverished communities.

Re-imagining Fashion as an Ecosystem of Commons

It turns out that the fashion world has quite a large cohort of designers, fashion houses, scholars, and activists who want to revamp the global fashion marketplace. To my surprise, there is quite a movement underway to invent new ways to design, produce and distribute clothing.

Sourdough Bread and the Cult of Convenience

Why does tending a sourdough starter seem so annoying? Pondering this question, I realized it had little to do with the ritual itself—which only takes five minutes—and everything to do with that lingering, underlying sense that it was inconvenient and that there were “other (more important) things I should be doing.”

Dark Kitchen: Salmo Salar

There is a sense of normality and purpose in the lives of true artisans of food, people who have learned how to engage with their environment to feed themselves. They represent the great passing on of human knowledge, with a profound understanding of how to live in a given landscape – a nobility in their craft that is threatened but unsullied by big industry.

A Response to “A World Made by Hand”

My point in writing this article wasn’t that I don’t use appliances or am against technology, but rather, that we need to use our hands more.  Or as another person wrote “Many of us have one foot in the modern world and another in the world we think is likely to come”. Exactly! 

The Struggle for Meaningful Work

The broad challenge before us then is to create an environmentally and socially sustainable future that provides decent, meaningful work for all. Such meaningful work is about more than just economic sufficiency; to be truly meaningful, work must enable people to unite their heads, their hands, and their hearts.

The great unskilling

In a society where people tend to be defined by what work they do, the question: “So what do you do?” is one that I find difficult to answer. I’m a classic Jack of all trades, master at none, and naming all the skills that I’ve collected over more than four decades would require some time. I’m not saying this to brag, but more to illustrate that I’m simply one of those people who collects skills as someone else might collect stamps or coins.

Living with just enough

By now we are all extremely familiar with the litany of challenges we face as a global species, the threats of scarcity which pit state against state and community against community, problems manmade and visible in nature: growing population, increasing urbanization, deforestation, damaged watersheds, overconsumption of resources, energy shortages, waste, pollution….All of us could easily add to this list. We know there will be no easy fixes, no panaceas, but nevertheless as we try to set priorities and search for the most promising ways to approach these problems, many of us find ourselves looking to different cultures and to earlier eras for inspiration. In this regard, the Edo period of Japan has a lot to teach us.