August 12, 2008

My very first blog carnival!

Some of you may have heard about a new group that's taking the world by storm. Some of you won't have, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about the APLS movement. As you can see in the image, APLS stands for Affluent Persons Living Sustainably. Before you react to that name, please hear me out. Just about every active member of this group has their own definition for APLS. I happen to like Green Bean's definition (the short version), which is "someone who cares about the state of the planet and folks living on it, who lives beneath their means, gives to charity and enjoys a lighter lifestyle." I have to say I'm still a bit uncomfortable with the word affluence, but the overall meaning works well for me, so I'm learning to live with the whole term.

So, all that being said, the APLS group is putting together a blog carnival. This concept is new to me, but it essentially invites all APLS members to post on the same topic to clarify our positions, look at various aspects of the same idea, and/or generally get the word out an issue at hand. The topics are set out by an APLS volunteer. Thanks to Melissa at Better Living, our very first topic is.....drumroll please...

What does sustainability mean to you?

Boy, what a question. When I started pondering how to respond to this question, I decided to look up the definition of "sustainable." Yep, I'm a word person, and I like to hunt down other people's definitions before I come up with my own. The
first set of definitions that came up included:

  1. To keep in existence; maintain.
  2. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for.
  3. To support from below; keep from falling or sinking; prop.
  4. To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage.
  5. To bear up under; withstand: can't sustain the blistering heat.
  6. To experience or suffer: sustained a fatal injury.
  7. To affirm the validity of: The judge has sustained the prosecutor's objection.
  8. To prove or corroborate; confirm.
  9. To keep up (a joke or assumed role, for example) competently.
Hmm. I'm intrigued by the peculiar combination of definitions, especially since I can see how each of describes the whole purpose of the APLS group. We are all trying to (1) maintain in many ways - maintaining our environment, maintaining our relationships, and maintaining our sanity in a complex and constantly changing world. We are working toward (2) supplying necessities and nourishment for ourselves, our families, and our planet. The whole purpose of the APLS group is to (3, 4) support each other's spirits and resolutions as we work toward living better lives. Many APLS members have discussed how helpless they feel and how much they (5, 6) suffer as they watch others work in direct opposition to their own beliefs about the amount of responsibility we should each take for the full impact of our lives. I have to say that finding a group like APLS has helped to (7, 8) affirm the validity of and corroborate my own feelings about the way. Clearly, we all hope to (9) keep up our efforts and encourage others to make small steps toward living a beautiful life while inflicting less damage impact on our planet.

I think that all of us APLS believe we have a lot of room for improvement on the sustainability front. I'd be the first to admit that I'm not all the way there yet. But if I wake up every morning and start making most of my daily decisions based on whether my actions will compromise the ability of future generations to live happy and healthy lives, then I feel like I'm definitely headed down the right path.

So you'll be seeing more posts about APLS over the coming months and years. I'd encourage you to jump over to the APLS blog to peruse the various members and visit blogs written by other folks in the "bushel basket." Hopefully you'll enjoy this community as much as I do...


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Great piece! Very well written and I like your take on sustainability.

I just found your blog via the APLS blog, where I noted you were going to be starting a Midwestern region, as a fellow Missourian (Columbia), that is pretty exciting.

I joined APLS recently and did not know about the carnival until yesterday when I began to see posts about it! I will have to be "on it" a little more so I can join in next time.

Lori said...

Thanks for the compliments - I had this sneaking suspicion that it only made sense in my own mind.

It's definitely exciting to hear from other Missourians in the sustainable blogging world. I should be posting a midwestern APLS roundup in the next day or so, and I'd love to have you sign up to join in the fun! As an added bonus, you will receive at least one or two(gently) prodding emails from yours truly when the next carnival comes up!

Bobbi said...

Great post! I'm so looking forward to this carnival!

greeen sheeep said...

Lori, Well said.

I have found the apls carnival to be beneficial in several ways.

I get to see other people's perspectives on sustainability and alter my own point of view. Some are way ahead of me on saving the planet. Gives me goals to shoot for.

I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this battle. Sometimes it feels like that in my household. But, I can jump on the blogosphere and converse with like minded greenies to gain reassurance.

And, I get to discover all these great blogs I knew nothing about!

ib mommy said...

You said it.... so nice to be able to connect with other people who are trying to live the same lifestyle. Some days I feel like giving up and it is uplifting to read about everyone else's efforts and know I'm not doing this by myself.

Julie Artz said...

I hear you about discomfort with the term "affluent." But then I remember that although I might not be as affluent as the Jones family next door, I am, by virtue of living in America, more affluent than most of the rest of the world.

Thanks for your post--very well said!

Bobbi said...

I didn't know where to start with reading everyone's entries. It was like a box of chocolates. Which to pick? So I decided to start at the top and work down. Good stuff.

We all need to accept that we are doing better than most people in history. We live in a time where we have more options, health care (think miracle drugs, would you forego them?) and other opportunities. We should embrace these blessings rather than be embarrassed by them. But we need to use them for the good. And not just buy another useless tee-shirt or knickknack. Ok, I'm off to another entry.

Lori said...

Thanks, everyone - I'm glad I'm not the only one enjoying this carnival. I've found that having a small glimpse into others' worlds has been incredibly inspiring!

Green Bean said...

Insightful, Lori. I love how you went through all the definitions. Really, sustainable means so many things and I think every single one of those applies to this community. Thank you for participating in the carnival!