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December 9, 2010
Thoughts on consumption, part 2 - Harpers Weekly wreath making

I am not a grinch—really. But I can't help but think of Thorstein Veblen, the man who gave us the term "conspicuous consumption," at this time of year.

"Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure. As wealth accumulates on his hands, his own unaided effort will not avail to sufficiently put his opulence in evidence by this method. The aid of friends and competitors is therefore brought in by resorting to the giving of valuable presents and expensive feasts and entertainments." (From The Theory of...

November 23, 2010

"Adopting a land ethic is easy and painless for most of us today because it imposes the primary burden to act on someone else."

—Douglas W. MacCleery, United States Forestry Service forester, writing about a decade ago.

And more:

"While few of us are resource producers any more, we all remain resource consumers. This is the one area we all can act upon that could have a positive effect on resource use, demand and management. Yet few of us connect our resource consumption to what must be done to the land to make it possible. At the same time many of...

November 12, 2010
Junk from the past, all part of trail work - scaled.Junk trail_IMG_3671

About seven years ago, after covering thousands of miles of woods trails over many years of hiking, my husband Nat and I signed up to be trail maintainers for part of the Mattabesett Trail in Middletown, Connecticut. The project we're in the midst of now at the River Road terminus of the trail illustrates why good hiking trails always mean that somebody worked very hard.

We are moving the trailhead to make it more pleasant and easier to begin hiking from the easternmost point of this trail, which is now part of the New England Trail, a national scenic trail desgnated by the U.S...

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