I attended an event called Greenbuild this year and was intrigued. This is a GREEN industry event where people who are really into the sustainable and GREEN movement come together, share new and exciting happenings on the frontier of building and growing a sustainable future. There were so many lectures and vendors there sharing all things GREEN and good, I actually did not have time to stop at all of them. Deepak Chopra also was one of the speakers and I understand he ssrved up a lot to think about as we move towards a sustainable existence. While I ran out of time to experience everything, I did find time to go to the bookstore and wow…it was awesome!
I had to limit myself to one book….although a few did flirt with me…I abstained. The book I settled on is called Better- the everyday art of sustainable living by Nicole Caldwell. I know this book was meant for me.
Sometimes we have hiccups in life, whether it be a dead end job, bad relationship or the loss of a loved one. These hiccups cause a reaction that is usually truly enlightening and sometimes our options are right in front of us, but we do not see it. Ms. Caldwell had grown up with what was to be her destiny in life, a former commune/farm, that she turned into a sustainable and environmental paradise.. Left to her by her beloved Uncle Steve, a paraplalegic who bought a farm and along with some friends, reconfigured the house to accomodate handicapped, as well as communal living. The beauty of this communal environment is, the local townspeople in upstate New York welcomed them, considering them as just a bunch of hippies. Little did they know, this was just the beginning of something great before it’s time.
The concept of communal living is community, sharing, building, farming and usually short stays…but not always. After connecting with the earth by being unemployed, Ms. Caldwell had embraced the Better Theory and decided to take her chances on running the Farm. To think that volunteering at a community garden would lead to greater enlightenment is truly a beautiful thing and such a great way to really find out who you are deep inside, as well as what you are made of, this I know.
To quote Ms. Caldwell, ” the purpose of the Better Theory : to redefine what we would normally consider a negative or no-win scenario and turn it into an opportunity for greatness……to take all the environmental obstacles and cultural isolation that we are faced with and use them as lessons in how to transcend them”…TRUE GENIOUS!
Having an interest in sustainable living, the proper Stewardship of our land, along with an interest in cultivating art, as well as gardens, Ms. Caldwell has made the Better Theory into Better Farm where artisans – we are all artists, if you think about it – can dwell for a bit and create not just art, but create community. One of my favorite chapters in this book is chapter 11 – Start Sustainability Now.
In this chapter, Ms. Caldwell breaks down some simple ways to green up our lives. These are some practical suggestios that are not expensive, but are a good thing for all to at least consider. A few suggestions are truly in the forefront of many of us today, such as grow your own food, ditch the pesticides, copy nature, change your shopping habits, collect rainwater – just to name a few. Ms. Caldwell also suggested that “we open ourselves up to allow creativity in.”
This is such a powerful book, whether you agree with communal living or not. Better Farm has become and continues to cultivate a community that thrives on communuty building, creativity and respect for our land. Yet another book that promotes us to be mindful of our existence and cultivate kindness, tolerance and grow…all this from volunteering in a community garden.
I am certainly glad to have this book to bolster my thoughts on how to live a Better sustainable life.