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Feedback from Oct '09 Seattle Conversation Salon on 'Scarcity'


Is 'Making Peace With Less' a Challenge or an Opportunity?
Whether due to the current economic situation, unpredictable employment and retirement security, or finite energy and natural resources, many of us are reducing our consumption and learning to live without things that we once had or took for granted, and/or are dropping goals that we assumed we would achieve in the future. Changing lifestyles is challenging, yes, but could it also be an opportunity?

Questions for reflection:
1. How have your own priorities changed in the past year? Has your mental health been affected by 'material poverty'?
2. What is the upside of downsizing?
3. Where can we take lessons from to help us do more with less?

-Introductions and Ice Breaker
-3 discussion rounds, one question per round (this is the first time I've done this; previous cafes were open discussion for each round, with questions to be referred to if desired)
-full group discussion at end

Full group discussion / Feedback

The question came up, "are we willing to make do with less to avoid mass destruction of the planet?" One answer: "yes, but I'd like to be told what to do so I would know which of my individual actions would have the biggest benefit".

Some saw a growing trend of being loyal to smaller community businesses, of new communities developing and of new opportunities.

There were practical ideas, e.g. using the Zipcar (car share) model for bike share, house share, ski bus, hiking bus, community co-op buses (like combi's in Mexico).

Some saw a trend toward more carbon and congestion taxing.

Definition of resilience: turning challenge into opportunity. Opportunities are hidden within challenges. Turning challenge into opportunity is a skill that can be taught or learned (therapists do it all the time through reframing).

There was an interesting discussion on the nature of balancing negative and positive attitudes in the sense that, like yin and yang, if positive (events, viewpoints) exists then so does negative; the absence of negative would be stasis, not positive (very existential!).

Most people felt more positive as a result of this discussion, but wondered how to carry it through to their family and neighborhood, and that it was good to share and hear other people's perspectives. Someone said they felt 'hopeful' and gained positive suggestions that were useful to them, Another said that as a result of this salon, they would take more risks connecting with people on this topic. Yet another reported, "this topic has me totally absorbed and I'll continue to sift through it for days".

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What a wonderful reflection....very insightful. Thank you for sharing it.



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