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The New Wood Culture: Part Two- What We Buy, What We Use

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The New Wood Culture: Part Two- What We Buy, What We Use

jarrod dahl

 This post has been really hard to write. I've been writing and rewriting this for over a month plus now. I've added details and stories to give context, but as the vastness unfolded, the stories just made it more confusing and linear with too many tangential ideas. Since starting it, I've traveled over to the UK, build a canoe, done so much that the original idea for this post is a giant quagmire in my mind. It's a good thing as life isn't straight forward and things ebb and flow. So, I've stripped it down to bare bones. Some of it's nothing new... ideas we have heard, read or thought, but there are some things that are meant to provoke and I hope they do. So here it goes.

 I remember the first time I brought my ash splint pack basket to the grocery store. It's the basket I still use today. It was in the winter, at a rural run of the mill store, not the food cooperative where I spend most of my money today. As we loaded up the basket at the check out with canned goods, I was very concerned that the handle or strap was going to break as I lifted it up to get the shoulder straps on. It didn't and it was loaded with more weight that 3 large paper bags could carry. As I brought the straps around my shoulders I looked up to notice that folks were staring at me and my basket. I felt a little tinge of awkwardness as I walked out of the store.  

Do you choose to grab the quick plastic bag at the grocery store or bring a hand made basket with you?  I'm not a fan of linear style concepts of right or wrong, so I don't think there is a right answer. But the question needs to be asked, regardless, so which one? and why? 

Are you willing to take a few stares or comments when you whip out that hand carved wooden spoon instead of grabbing the plastic one provided at that certain meal? Or like the example above, bring your locally made basket to market with you? 

I'm not talking about that 'fair trade' basket (I'll get into that some other day, it's not the same) I'm talking about the basket that was made by someone in your region at the very least. Made with local materials and skill. 

This is way bigger than just talk about wooden bowls, spoons, or baskets. For me this is about our cultural views and habits, local economies, making choices that help our neighbors and community live better lives, because we are tied together. We always have been.

This is then also about both Capitalism and Oligarchy's as well.  I'm not a fan of either, but I do see both as a means to an end, a step in the process.

For me, The New Wood Culture is about social, economic, and cultural change. At this point in time we are faced with the fact that we may only have a one method to make change and it's through where we put our money. Understanding what we spend it on, and more importantly who and where that money ends up. Understanding how that interrelates to us and our society.

I think it's powerful but also very slow in nature.

So for me, New Wood Culture is a microcosm for change. A change that is many years in the making with a many years more to become mature. 

How powerful are the cultural norms we live by? Where do those norms come from? Do they really affect our choices in what we want to use vs what we will use? And are we influenced to making choices that undermine our own values or desires? or even influence our own self interests or common sense?

The old paradigm is sterile. What's left of it is within a dying generation. We need to thoughtfully consider the new one that is unfolding.

This quote seems appropriate.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”


― R. Buckminster Fuller

Some may see this as problematic as the bag is a plastic facsimile of the real basket. I see this as a slow movement back toward using baskets again through changing our cultural opinions/views by using the image of the basket in use again.