A few months back, I was at the farmer’s market with Michelle, and a gorgeous woman with a mane of blonde hair rode by on a tricycle with a bench for her child on the back. Michelle had noticed the woman a bunch of times before and had told me about her. “There she is!” Michelle now said.
I ran up to her and asked where she got the bike and we had a long talk and it turned out that the woman was a regular reader of No Impact Man. I said that I wished I could get a bike like hers but that because of the No Impact Man project I could buy nothing new. “Well, I have another one you can borrow,” the woman said, and that’s the rickshaw we’ve been riding Isabella around in.
Anyway, it turns out that the woman we met in the market, who loaned us the rickshaw, was the famous fashion designer Lela Rose (and the New York Observer just featured her in a story about women who bicycle in New York). She has since, I am grateful to say, become a friend. As a result, this morning, Michelle and I went to Lila’s very ritzy and fancy fashion show (it is fashion week here in New York).
As you know if you read this blog regularly, I am the first to say that our culture’s emphasis on consumption is at the root of our environmental problems. And the change-your-wardrobe-every-season fashion industry is more than a little culpable for promoting consumption for consumption’s sake.
But when I saw Lela’s show—I’ve never been to a fashion show before—I was amazed by the thought and meticulousness and the beauty of it all. So much amazing human talent on display.
What I couldn’t help thinking about is how the wonderful human drive to create is the first link of a long chain of events that eventually leads to over-consumption. I thought about that and about Lela and about me too—because this blog and my forthcoming book come partly out of my own drive to create.
We all have this drive. And I think that, at times, conspicuous consumption can even be the result of people’s appreciation of creative talent. So for me, as I left Lela’s wonderful show, the question became: how can we reduce the use of resources without squashing the creative drive I think we should celebrate? How can we not throw the baby out with the bath water?
Photo compliments of Lela Rose.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.