Thursday, March 27, 2008

wandering around

on monday I started writing a post saying it would be heavy on pictures and light on words; it turned out heavy on words and relatively light on pictures. today who knows what is going to happen.

yesterday I never found the time to blog in, I mean log in....the post that had yesterday's date was technically the second post for tuesday. I felt a little bad because I missed putting up a tidbit for women's history month. my current little obsession: "put a little herstory on the mouse each day for the month."

today on the diane rehm show, diane interviewed james gustave speth who is the dean of the school of forestry and environmental studies at yale university and a co-founder of the natural resources defense fund. dr. speth and diane were primarily discussing speth's new book, the bridge at the edge of the world: capitalism, the environment, and crossing from crisis to sustainability. this book sounds as if it should be required reading for any one who claims to care about the future of the world. (really the only reason I'm on the computer right now, is because I ran up to see if the book is available at the library. it appears that there is only one book currently owned by the vast clevnet system. I'm number 3 on the list!)

speth envisions that we are in the midst of a three-prong crises - an environmental crisis; a social crisis (where we have an unprecedented gulf between the haves and have nots); and a political power crisis (where there is a great concentration of power in the hands of a few and in the hands of corporations). dr. speth stated that we need to "take back the environment" and "take back democracy" and in doing both we need to take corporations out of politics. dr. speth contends that in order to survive we have to start making a lot of sacrifices, we have to start changing the way we live NOW - for our planet to survive, we can no longer afford 'business as usual.'

most importantly, we have to stop our obsession about growth and realize that the root of our current problems lie with the very structure of modern capitalism. speth contends, and I agree wholeheartedly, that modern capitalism is in fact inherently destructive to our health and well being as a planet and as a species. what dr. speth says isn't particularly new; I'm reminded of e.f. schumacher 1973 book small is beautiful; paul ehrlich's 1968 classic the population bomb - although we have yet to experience the type of mathusian disaster ehrlich predicted, population growth continues to be a big threat to the planet's sustainability; rachel carson's 1962 masterpiece silent spring - the book which many credit as the catalyst for today's environmental movement; and a slew of other books and articles which started emerging during the 1960s (there were plenty of folks writing about the ecological crisis before al gore)

in light of things like the ice shelf collapse which is currently happening, such warnings and calls for action seem even more critical today. although speth's thesis is not new there is a certain urgency about the state of the planet and the species today vs forty, thirty, twenty or even ten years ago.

geez, I do go on (and on). initially was just going to take you along with ms t and I as we went off yesterday in our hunt for some signs of spring. finally we had sidewalks suitable for the stroller so we were able to resume a few of our usual rounds.


Help wanted—Separate and Unequal

Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Jobs were categorized according to sex, with the higher level jobs listed almost exclusively under "Help Wanted—Male." In some cases the ads ran identical jobs under male and female listings—but with separate pay scales. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned on average between 59–64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned in the same job.

It wasn't until the passage of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 (effective June 11, 1964) that it became illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly on the basis of their sex. Demonstrable differences in seniority, merit, the quality or quantity of work, or other considerations might merit different pay, but gender could no longer be viewed as a drawback on one's resumé.

source:The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act by Borgna Brunner

photo: spring flowers, 26 march 2008


R.L. Bourges said...

I remember those separate ads! The ones for women were for nurses, secretaries, sales clerks, hairdressers and waitresses.
The book sounds interesting - yes, the whole worldview based on "economic growth" is flawed to the core. But are people willing to change - unless change is forced upon them by circumstances? That's the question.
Meanwhile, the sprouts go on sprouting and spring goes on springing up. Love that photo!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I checked up that book and my library doesn't have it :( but they did have another one by Speth called "Red Sky At Night" so I'll look into that.
Thank you for the insightful post. Makes me more glad I found your blog.

Unknown said...

1963! Wow, I'm glad I wasn't a job-seeking female back then.

Unknown said...

Oh I forgot to say how I loved your picture and the slide show.

Barbara said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the slide show -- felt like I was along for the ride/stroll. You might have inspired me to pull "Small Is Beautiful" off my shelf where it has sat since 1973 and finally read it.

The new book sounds like a great MUST read.

Colette Amelia said...

Ahh spring is in the air...there, this morning we woke up to about 3 inches of lovely fluffy white snow. The countdown is on...April 17th! Then I hope to be able to read some of the books that you suggest and this one sounds great!

Steve Reed said...

What a great post and a great photo!

I agree wholeheartedly with Speth (well, from what you've written here, anyway). I've never understood why everyone says things MUST be growing or they're dying. Can't we just kind of cruise along with the same level of population, same productivity? I don't get it. (But then, I failed economics.)

lettuce said...

but theres still a pretty large discrepancy in average wages, at least over here...