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Back to basics advocacy group
Old 04-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #1
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Back to basics advocacy group

I bookmarked this site some time ago and kind of forgot about it: New American Dream Home

Have to peruse it again as it seems like they have added a lot of content along the lines of intentional simplicity in living your life.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:44 PM   #2
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"The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice."

Well, that groovy statement tells me about all I need to know.

I browsed through the website anyway - especially the Staff biographies - seems most of these folks have made careers for themselves out of working for & starting left-wing nonprofit organizations. I guess they get their green by selling green. I wonder how much they pay themselves?

I clicked on the "Careers" link & seems there's no positions available - hey, maybe I'll start my own green NP & compete with them when I pull the plug next year on my current career!.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:35 AM   #3
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"The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice."
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Well, that groovy statement tells me about all I need to know.
Something intrinsically wrong with that statement?
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #4
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Check out this excerpt from "Living the Good Life:"

GoodLifeQuote.jpg

The interesting thing is that this book sounds just like the "voluntary simplicity" and "anti-conspicuous-consumption" ideas of today, yet it describes the authors' thoughts in 1932.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:03 AM   #5
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I browsed through the website anyway - especially the Staff biographies - seems most of these folks have made careers for themselves out of working for & starting left-wing nonprofit organizations. I guess they get their green by selling green. I wonder how much they pay themselves?
My experience with these types of organizations is that the pay tends to be quite low.


When I was in law school I wanted to work for Legal Aid. I worked for them during school and in the summers. I was offered a job when I got out of school. The pay was really bad. I went for a law firm job in part for the money. Tough to pay back all those student loans and meet family responsibilities with pay in the low teens (early 1980s). The other reason I did not take a legal aid job was that I took the job home with me at night, worrying over everyone's intractable problems.

My sister works for a non-profit that contracts with LA county to provide drug and mental illness treatment for people on jail diversion programs. She runs a huge program and works untold hours. She suffers budget cuts that make no sense and constant audits and mickey mouse rules. All the while trying to help people turn their life around. She sure doesn't make the kind of money she should make for all her time and effort.

I admire people who work for nonprofits.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:24 AM   #6
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T Al.. I get care packages of books from the US, and in the latest one there was a beat-up copy of Mark Vonnegut's "Eden Express" (in part) about Vietnam-War-era hippies going up to British Columbia to live off the land.. really the same thing as in your citation. Only 1/2 way through the book, but they had a modicum of success (so far in my reading).

It seems like every generation or two needs to "find" this philosophy. (See: the utopian communities of Oneida, etc., of the late 19th century).

Texarkandy.. I understand your cynicism.. but how come it's ok for the right wing to profit wildly from right-wing philosophy (that's a de facto "proof" of its "superiority").. yet if a lefty prospers to any degree there must be something under-handed or insincere about it.. as though only sackcloth and ashes can be an authentic manifestation of a less venal world? Making Some Money is not the same as making Billions, nor is it the same as taking a vow of extreme poverty.

"Sustainable" living is espoused by a range of people from various parts of the political spectrum. The folks from Ruby Ridge, I imagine, can attest to that.

I fail to see what is bad about "living consciously", as brewer's site encourages.
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:41 PM   #7
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I fail to see what is bad about "living consciously", as brewer's site encourages.
Actually, if you called it "frugality" or "LBYM", almost everyone on this board is living consciously right now.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Texarkandy
"The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice."

Quote:
Well, that groovy statement tells me about all I need to know.

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Something intrinsically wrong with that statement?
Yes, conservation and ending exploitation are reprehensible ideas. Enabling people that want to live like that is ruining America! We must mock them and stamp them out before our whole way of living comes crashing down in such a horrible din that even chanting USA! USA! cannot overcome it.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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... "Living the Good Life:"

The interesting thing is that this book sounds just like the "voluntary simplicity" and "anti-conspicuous-consumption" ideas of today, yet it describes the authors' thoughts in 1932.
I liked that Nearings book. I admire their independence and self-sufficiency balanced with socializing and work for the community.

I liked how they divided up their hours in a day--if I remember right, four hours for work (livelihood), four hours for themselves (fun), and four hours for civic (community) work. And their weekends were spent with friends.

Scott Nearing lived to be over 100, and I remember pictures of him in his 90's either plowing or pushing some rocks to build stone walls or other structures.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:17 PM   #10
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Yes, that's right. But I think he was wrong and lucky in many regards. For example, they didn't allow themselves to get ahead financially (i.e. save money). Also, they went 20 years without seeing a doctor, feeling that that was the result of the hard work and good eating habits. True, that kind of life lets you avoid a lot of disease, but not all.

So they were lucky they didn't get sick or have an accident and didn't need to rely on savings.

Also, it's interesting to read his predictions that the American society would collapse. On the one hand it hasn't collapse and it is now 80 years later. On the other hand, the unsustainable aspects of our society and consumerism seem worse than when they wrote the book.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:22 PM   #11
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.... but how come it's ok for the right wing to profit wildly from right-wing philosophy (that's a de facto "proof" of its "superiority").. yet if a lefty prospers to any degree there must be something under-handed or insincere about it.. as though only sackcloth and ashes can be an authentic manifestation of a less venal world? Making Some Money is not the same as making Billions, nor is it the same as taking a vow of extreme poverty.

Let's me throw in a couple of cents of thoughts... (see the value in them )

It is different if they are producing and selling a product and making a 'few bucks' (think Half Price Books or similar) as opposed to creating some scare tactic of whatever left leaning propaganda and asking people to donate money to 'fix' that problem and then paying it to themselves... Now, me being a capitalist I have to say 'buyer beware' and give them the right to do it... but they did not produce anything (in my opinion)...

This is not for ALL of the charities out there... there are many that actually provide a great service to many people.... but not all...
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:47 PM   #12
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.........
Texarkandy.. I understand your cynicism.. but how come it's ok for the right wing to profit wildly from right-wing philosophy (that's a de facto "proof" of its "superiority").. yet if a lefty prospers to any degree there must be something under-handed or insincere about it..
A. I didn't say it was ok as regards right-wingers

B. Perhaps you are incorrectly assuming I am a "right-winger"?
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:57 PM   #13
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I think I will read the Nearings book again to review his collapse predictions--it has been a while.

I have been reading more lately about bleak items such as global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, developing-world poverty, hunger, more resource wars (water, soil, and metals), HIV in Africa, people eating dirt in Haiti, species extinction, rising food prices.

(Dang--we should have gotten a replacement TV for the one that broke down 15 months ago, and I could have continued watching sit-coms instead of all this reading.)

I don't know the good that it does me or the world when I really am not doing much of anything about the problems except the usual little conservation stuff that jives with LBYM and the common lifestyle changes like buying local and/or organic food, using less plastic and paper, driving less, sending off a few dollars to charity, etc. I've never written elected officials; maybe I will start.

Mostly, the problems are just like black clouds in the back of my mind, except for the very tangible one that the devaluation of the dollar means I have to set aside and send more dollars for my family "back home".
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:59 PM   #14
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Well, I wasn't going to waste a whole lot of my time researching exactly what this outfit is or what they actually acomplish, but I did take a gander at their latest "Annual Report" (2005) avail on their website - seems they ended up with red ink at the end of the year - no mention of specific salaries, travel expenses to "conferences" "seminars" "fact finding trips" in fun, interesting, or exotic locales - must be buried under the general headings of "Program Expenses"

Seriously though, something like this could be a good part-time 2nd career for RE folks.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:04 PM   #15
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According to their form 990, in 2006 there were 5 employees who made over $50,000. Their salaries ranged from $57,000-$71,000/year and they worked 32 hours per week.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:12 PM   #16
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...and asking people to donate money to 'fix' that problem and then paying it to themselves...
.

I come here almost every day, as do many others, to find out what FIRE-oriented folks are thinking and doing. I enjoy this little pseudo-community of like-minded people and I, like most others, have voluntarily chipped in to support it. If these folks are offering a forum / tips and suggestions for people who are interested in same, then I don't see the problem.

I'm actually less interested in discussing the group's motives / politics, and more interested in a give-and-take on some of their suggestions / ideas.

The information on how to reduce junk mail, for instance, looks very useful. Anybody thinking about using their service or the do-it-yourself method?
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:34 PM   #17
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A. I didn't say it was ok as regards right-wingers

B. Perhaps you are incorrectly assuming I am a "right-winger"?
That goes on a lot here.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:44 PM   #18
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SOrry... just a misplaced assumption, perhaps. I usually don't go over the annual reports of entities linked here in order to criticize them for paying people's salaries.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:08 AM   #19
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It is different if they are producing and selling a product and making a 'few bucks' (think Half Price Books or similar) as opposed to creating some scare tactic of whatever left leaning propaganda and asking people to donate money to 'fix' that problem and then paying it to themselves... Now, me being a capitalist I have to say 'buyer beware' and give them the right to do it... but they did not produce anything (in my opinion)...
So I take it you don't cough up when your local church/synagogue/temple/whatever passes the collection plate?
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:16 AM   #20
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According to their form 990, in 2006 there were 5 employees who made over $50,000. Their salaries ranged from $57,000-$71,000/year and they worked 32 hours per week.
32 hours per week, huh? And their travel/expense accounts?
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