Welcome to the second edition of the APLS monthly carnival. APLS stands for Affluent Persons Living Simply and the topic for this month was the ever-controversial A for Affluent. What did every one think? Is it a controversial term? One people feel uncomfortable with? One people view locally or globally? One they embrace for the power it brings? I noticed these and several other recurring themes in the thoughtful posts that flooded the APLS gmail account this month.
Read on and see what fellow APLS think of affluence:
In her typically eloquent fashion, Abbie, The Farmer's Daughter, comes to terms with her affluence. She looks at wealth globally, rather than locally. But she also looks at the real wealth in her life - the stuff "that cannot be expressed in dollars and cents."
Over at Chocolate Crayons & More, Donna admits that she still doesn't like the word "affluence" but acknowledges that, globally, it fits our country. She urges us to think of the big impact a relatively small amount can have outside our borders and quotes the apostle Paul who believed there should equality in wealth.
At Green Arizona, Alana views affluence globally and her possessions in terms of needs versus wants. When we break it down that way, she notes, we can see where our priorities truly are and then maybe we can make decisions differently.
Melissa, a Golden State APLS blogging at Better Living, thoughtfully argues that we need to view affluence globally to "heal the problems faced by our world today." She examines the definition of affluence argues that our reluctance to own up to our own affluence, in a manner, diminishes the hard truth of poverty.
At Simple.Green.Organic.Happy, Robin is concerned that the term might make others thing you have to be wealthy to be green and then beautifully details all the richness in her life despite a shrinking paycheck.
Bobbi, also a Lower Midwest APLS, at The Greene Onion also delves into the multiple meanings of "affluent." She realizes that, while affluent typically connotes material wealth, the term relates another kind of wealth - one far more meaningful. And Bobbi sees that alternate wealth spreading across this country.
Over at The Good Life, Mel, another Great Lakes APLS, enumerates all the ways in which she is affluent - in terms of material wealth and "real" wealth (health, happiness). There's a reason her blog is called The Good Life. Mel makes us all thankful for all that we have.
All this Affluence is the topic over at BobbleHead Owl Suburban Homestead where Mist muses on her own affluence - despite the fact that many of the frugal acts she makes are a necessity. Still, she argues, she has the choice of staying home with her children or going to work and that is as affluent as it comes.
At Car(bon)free in California, Charles views affluence using powerful metaphors of cars and televisions - material objects so prevalent in our society that they are "practically a birthright." Through the "eyes" of televisions and cars, we realize how relative wealth is.
As proof that there can be some agreement in this deeply divided nation, The Moral Collapse of America documents 15 Things That Are Wrong with America. Number 10 hits on America's global greed and Number 14 considers America's destruction of the environment.
In Affluence vs. Effluence, Will from The Green Couple, admits that he dislikes the term affluence. Really, Will? ;-) He correctly points out that living sustainably has nothing to do with material wealth.
Lori, our Lower Midwest APLS regional coordinator, from Life in Webster Groves becomes more comfortable with the term at hand by defining affluence. In examining the different meanings of "affluent", she finds one that fits. One that acknowledges that "we’re flowing toward a common goal."
Sunflowerchilde, a Golden State APLS blogging at The Natural Life, examines the difference between needs and wants and eloquently argues for a new definition of wealth or affluence - one based not on things but on qualities.
Non-blogging APLS Blog reader, Tom Gilfoye submits these insightful thoughts on affluence: "I see affluence as the balance between what you have and what you want. There are two ways to become affluent: making more than you spend, or spending less than you make. These are very different ways of living. The first has a goal of consumption; the second has a goal of frugality."
Beth, a Golden State APLS at Fake Plastic Fish, also investigates the etymology of the word and discovers that, in Latin, "affluent" means "to flow toward." She beautifully argues that we need to sustain the flow in terms of material affluence, time affluence and "simply being".
Our Great Lakes APLS coordinator leaps aboard her eco-flying saucer over at Eco Burban. She acknowledges that it is truly alien to consider oneself affluent in our culture - especially when one chooses to live beneath their means.
photo: ****b/c**** on Flickr
Affluence allows us to make choices, argues Julie Artz, one of the two Colorado APLS organizers. Her post at Chez Artz highlights the difference between those of us with choices and those without persuasively brings home just what an impact such choices could make.
Mama sees things a bit differently at Mama Goes Green. With our affluence comes a duty to make choices that have a positive impact on the world around us, think about our impact on others before taking action and to speak out for those with less power than we.
New to the carnival this month, The Wounded Chef wonders about affluence. She realizes that affluence means living within one's means. It also means that when one is ultimately able, one uses that money in environmentally and socially responsible ways.
Going Green Mama, a Great Lakes APLS, gets the carnival going by asking How Are You Paving Our Path? Are you being proactive? Taking responsibility for your actions and working for a better future? Her thoughtful queries brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.
A is for Affluence over at crstn85 and that signifies that we are privileged and able to make wise choices. Those choices can include not spending money at all which, Tina notes, is the true dichotomy that is living sustainably in an affluent society.
At Surely You Nest, MamaBird acknowledges her affluence . . . and is thankful for it. She notes that it is this wealth that allows her to make choices in line with her beliefs.
Another Great Lakes APLS, Greeen Sheeep wonders why our society is so "sheepish" about wealth - and owning up to the word "affluent" - when we spend our collective time and effort trying to amass possessions to show off that wealth. She offers her cure for that sheepishness and it is a generous one.
From a window above the train tracks in India, Arduous ponders affluence in global terms. Having been raised in an affluent society, she has been privy to countless opportunities and been given the ability to dream. It is time we extend the same beyond our borders, to the children of the world.
Bobbi, the Golden State APLS organizer, has an affluent epiphany at To Live Local. She is truly grateful for what she has and what she can do with it. Bobbi ends this post with a zinger.
At Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings, Jenn, a Lower Midwest APLS, concludes that her affluence, as an American, has come at a cost to the rest of the planet. Because of the sacrifices made by others, she feels particularly responsible for using that affluence in a mindful manner.
Over at VWXYNot?, Cath readily acknowledges our affluence and argues that it is a tool for change. She argues that we must use the gift of wealth to make smarter choices and to raise our voices to ask for more such choices.
We all are affluent, "dude", protests Burbanmom, at Going Green. Instead of wasting that affluence on stuff we don't need, we should use it instead to influence environmental change - through smarter purchasing decisions, activism and charity.
Here at Green Bean Dreams, I argue that we must accept our affluence - and the responsibilities that come with it. We, as the rich of the Earth, have the moral duty to bring awareness, fight injustice, make environmentally aware purchases and shift the paradigm of this planet. And that duty begins by acceptance.
Finally, a blogger whom I respect tremendously, Melinda at One Green Generation (formerly Elements in Time), discusses her issues with affluence. She believes that, as a society we have been defining ourselves in terms of wealth for far too long and that use of the term "affluent" is divisive and exclusive. Melinda "wishes with all her heart" that the group would change its acronym from Affluent Persons Living Sustainably to All People Living Sustainably and has kindly created two gorgeous new logos for the group - one for each acronym. Please check out this post and the exchange of ideas in the comments as well as the comments to this post.
What do you think? After a month of dwelling on "affluence", is it a term that you think the group should keep? Does it define us as a society? Do we need to accept how much we truly have before we can make real change in this world? Or does it alienate others and prevent the group from growing?
Hungry for more APLS? We've added some new regional groups this past month and now have APLS connecting in the Great Lakes, the Lower Midwest, Golden State (California) and Colorado. If you would like to organize a APLS group in your region, shoot us an email at aplscarnival(at)gmail(dot)com. There are also Facebook groups - where the discussion continues - for the APLS group overall and the Colordado APLS.