I was honored to be invited to Peter Schoonmaker's "Myth of Sustainability” class at PSU. Before the class, Peter explained to me that all semester he had been depressing his students with the realities of our dire situation. His other guests, which included Portland powerhouses Dennis Wilde, Regina Hauser and Rex Burkholder, had all shared their work but had also said that they knew it wasn’t enough. As the guest for the last class of the year, I was invited to share other models: doing things ourselves, right here, right now.
I shared my stories of grassroots efforts from around the world and also right here in Portland (you guessed it: TLC Farm and City Repair!). I also wove in the connections between these grassroots efforts and the global influences that the students had also been learning about, like the world capital/economic system. As usual, it was quite fun as well as heavy to introduce ideas like the fact that non-profits aren’t necessarily going to “save us”—that we must embrace shifted outta-the-box lifestyle and perspectives if we are going to really have a changed story.
A few weeks before this class, I also had the honor of presenting this story to a "Global Civilization" class at the University of Oregon. This class was graduate level in the planning school, so I focused more on the built environment.