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If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.

If your happiness depends on money,you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you. 

—Lao Tzu 

Sometimes it is hard to tell, but I truly believe we are sowing the seeds for a green economy. Amidst all of the stuff we have created and all the waste we have generated, there is a kind of cultural compost being made. Greater numbers of people—all over the country and all over the world—are exploring how they can use their resources to promote healthy communities and a clean environment. 

From the upsurge in organic food and products to the fact that the Prius has become the new “it” car in Hollywood, we’re seeing a transformation slowly taking place. Perhaps that’s naïve. I like to think of it as hopeful, and that we can all do our part, given our position of relative affluence in the world, to promote a more restorative and regenerative economy. Even over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the growth of the green building movement, the spread of hybrid cars and car sharing, an increased attention on corporate social responsibility, and the focus on the health, economic and environmental impacts of the foods we eat, to name just a few arenas where this shift is occurring.

And, increasingly, there is a social justice lens being applied, where the environmental justice movement is less marginalized in both environmental and social change circles and seen as an opportunity for ALL to live in healthier communities. Every day, and especially around the holidays, we can consider how the power of our purchases in some small way changes the world.

Rather than our economic lives being transactional, they can truly be transformational. We can step into the market less afraid of what negative impacts our lives create, and clearer on our desire to use the economy to foster positive change in our own communities and communities around the world. Please see below for some resources on learning more about the green economy, and on great options for fair-trade and eco-friendly holiday gifts. It’s a gift twice-over—maybe even three times!—as you support sustainable communities, feel good about doing it AND offer a message to your friends, family and colleagues about a very different kind of generosity.  

November 2005