April 4, 2008
Dear Plenty Friends,
At the Plenty “Summit” in February it was instructive to reflect on how the world and Plenty have changed, yet stayed the same over the past 34 years. We started Plenty from a commitment to be of some use to others in the world, without quite knowing how. We certainly understood that there was a lot of need but as we were, for the most part, relatively privileged American young people, that need didn’t yet have faces or names. Now it does, and that makes all the difference.
We talked about the challenges confronting humanity as a result of global warming and its related consequences from drought to floods to an increase in the frequency and intensity of destructive weather incidents like hurricanes. We discussed the need for project partners and ourselves to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, to reduce our carbon footprint, to break old energy habits and learn how to be more self-sufficient. I remember attending hearings on Capital Hill back in the late 1970s where some of our energy whiz kids of the day, like Ralph Nader and Amory Lovins, explained in great detail how conservation is the most effective and direct method of reducing US energy requirements. Their pleadings were largely ignored by policy makers.
So here we are, as an endangered species, continuing to dig ourselves into a bigger and deeper hole. Incredibly, some still think war is a viable option for solving problems. A nation like the U.S. that spends more on weapons and defense than the total of what all the rest of the world spends is a nation under the thumb of its “military/industrial complex,” an unfortunate and crippling posture considering the state of the world.
But, like the man I ran into in the grocery story today said when I asked him how he was doing, “Can’t complain…and if I did complain, would that make it any better?”
If our experiences over the past 34 years with Plenty have taught us anything, it is that we can make things better. Just because you think you can’t save the world, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. We've learned that simply trying attracts the help and opens the way to making a difference. When we were preparing for the Plenty Summit, we solicited comments and suggestions from our wide circle of friends and advisors. Jerry Hutchens, who has volunteered on numerous Plenty Projects over the years, wrote us from India where he is traveling with his daughter Faith, “Plenty has given each of us the opportunity to do something good and useful with our lives by contributing to the happiness of others. Plenty projects start with and are energized by heart connections. We will witness our greatest growth and effectiveness by following our hearts.”
The Summit continues in spirit and we would like to invite you who help keep Plenty happening to send us your ideas and suggestions about what we should be paying attention to, what you think we need to change or keep. Write us or email us or visit our blog, http://plentyinternational.wordpress.com/ and post a comment. Thank you so much.
PS: Friends of Plenty in northern California are organizing a gala fundraising party to benefit Plenty on Saturday, May 3, at the Sebastopol Community Center, from 6:30 to midnight. Please join us for a vegetarian dinner, a silent auction of great items, and live music by four fantastic Bay Area bands! Tickets are $20. Email for more info.
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