It's very nice that the city of Austin is making it much easier to recycle by moving to single-stream, but it's more important to reduce our creation of waste in the first place. That involves a lot of work in terms of changing corporate priorities on containers and packaging, and a lot of work in changing people's mindsets about their own goods.
America has developed a throw-away culture in the past half century, mostly through deliberate changes in marketing and municipal infrastructure. There's something insane about that- chunking our goods instead of seeking simple repairs or adapted uses. That sort of thing is thankfully showing signs of rebirth in our culture. People are developing new ways of re-engaging with their built world, inventing and repairing its elements rather than add to the waste stream.
I thought I'd toss these links up I just ran across. They're for websites that storehouse scanned user manuals for appliances, tech equipment, and such. Enjoy.
"The Open Cafe fuses the age old tradition of the potluck with the contemporary Open Source movement to share company, food, drink, and more in a community environment created anew with every day. A wiki page maintained by a community describes each day's menu and schedule of events for a physical location in your area. You, the participant, can establish a location, make the menu and event schedule as you please, anytime, day or night.
"It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the United States' financial system – indeed, global finance – is in a mess. And now, with the US House of Representatives having rejected the Bush administration's proposed $700bn bail-out plan, it is also obvious that there is no consensus on how to fix it.
I've been thinking about utopian economic structures (because really, what's as fun as grooving out to utopian economic structures?) and their relationship to the world as it is. I call myself an anarchist but in all honesty, if we take the idea of immediate, spontaneous revolution off the table (and I don't really think it belongs there) this is a very vague assertion. It is a set of loose principles held together more by historical continuity or quasi-mystical intuition more than through any strict parameters, organizational coherence, or platform of particular doctrines and dogmas. As a political project it is grand and open, and demands the widest possible creativity in experimenting with new forms and models for living, or with adapting existing forms.
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Sun, 09/14/2008 - 2:58pm
I've been thinking about one of the major institutions in Austin life, the Austin Yellow Bike Project. I've only been there a few times. Amazing institution, and it's even more amazing as a successful volunteer collective. They're in the middle of moving to a new location, so if you didn't have a chance to visit it yet, you'll have to wait to see the thing in full glory (or visit one of the satellite shops). It' essentially a community bike shop, where folks can use tools to repair or build bikes, get maintenance tips, and contribute by building bikes for donation to communities in Mexico and Cuba.
I'd like to offer some thoughts on anarchism, both as it has existed historically and as I envision it. This political worldview may become a significant force in the 21st century, and I'd like to explore its core ideas and its potential.
The average car trip in America has 1.2 riders, including the driver. The first time I ran smack into a full-blown I35 traffic jam, and looked at the lanes of cars, minivans and SUVs filled with one person each, I thought to myself wow, if only we were all carrying three or four people, this nonsense wouldn't be happening. The trick though is that carpooling is always a bit difficult to organize with any spontaneity, and so it is an often unpopular tactic in transit.
Dynamic ridesharing systems intend to change this. Using the fairly ubiquitous technology available to users (cell phones and web services) these nascent programs enable users to call for a ride wherever they happen to be. A web service matches the user up with a driver already going in their direction. The service then gives users or riders some financial rewards, in the form of money or business discounts.