The Bushel Basket? Overflowing with a variety of wonderfully crunchy apples? Have you picked an apple yet? I've managed to nibble here and there and I look forward to eating my way through the whole darn basket.
Nothing is better than connecting with like-minded folks. I truly believe that, to grow the green movement, preserve our own sanity and find a place of belonging, we need to continue to find ways to connect APLS to APLS. In addition to The Bushel Basket, you can join the APLS Facebook group, the Going Green with Burbanmom Yahoo Group or, if you are in the North West, attend a blogger meet up organized by Crunchy Chicken and Melinda.
Last weekend, I connected with four super APLS, MamaBird from Surely You Nest, Beth from Fake Plastic Fish, Jenn from Tiny Choices and Jennifer from The Smart Mama, at the Blogher conference. We hung out, went to a seminar together, ate lunch (plastic free, of course!). I learned far more in my time with those gals than at the rest of the conference. We shared a hug when we parted and looked forward to our next connection, even if it was only online.
So, when Beth, recounting her experience at the same conference, asked: "Should we get more involved in Blogher greening or create our own green bloggers conference?", I wanted to shout "CREATE OUR OWN GREEN CONFERENCE!"
But I didn't.
Because as wonderful as it is to be surrounded by people like yourself - the validation, the sense of belonging, the feeling of connection and support - it is also nice to toss an orange into the basket.
In Achieving Success Through Social Capital, Wayne Baker wrote:
Generally speaking, people tend to associate with others like themselves. The "similarity principle" is a powerful driver of human interaction. For these and other reasons, networks are prone to form within clumps, not between them. . . . Clumpiness means that networks tend to fold back on themselves. For example, friends of friends tend to be friends. (82)
Many months ago, Charles at Car(bon) Free in California noted essentially the same thing. In exploring how to build an effective platform from which to "spread the word", he noted "I need to comment on other blogs and build traffic. But the risk is that we echo chamber." By adding oranges, we can stretch our words, thoughts and beliefs beyond our own sustainable circle.
More diverse networks - where APLS connect with other apples as well as oranges - "extend out into the world instead of folding back on themselves." (Achieving Success Through Social Capital, 82). By adding the occasional orange, we create a stronger network that is more likely grow. Indeed, no movement ever succeeded without a diversity of viewpoint and dissident voices, without an infusion of new thoughts and connections. In addition, an occasional orange can make life a lot more interesting. As No Impact Man expressed when he met Australian fashionista blogger, Gala Darling, connecting with someone not obviously like yourself and "together looking for and finding . . . commonalities, . . . building human bridges . . . make[s life] . . . a little better by simply being human."
That's why The Bushel Basket, Going Green Yahoo Group and the Facebook Group are open to everyone. To those who say they are new to the movement. To those who are just learning about climate change. To those who have not yet embarked on a more sustainable path. To those who don't write or often think about sustainable living but who are interested. And to everyone in between. Jump in.
There is room in this bushel basket for apples, oranges and even an occasional non-local, organic banana.
UPDATED: to add Burbanmom's Going Green Yahoo Group. Don't know why I blanked on that the first time but Burbs' group is a great way to connect with other APLS and share advice for living lighter.