Inspiration from the 1970s for Today’s Young Environmentalists

By Steven McCabe, Associate Professor, Institute for Design, Economic Acceleration & Sustainability (IDEAS), Birmingham City University. Originally published at The Conversation.

Cult 1970s BBC TV show The Good Life examined Tom and Barbara Good’s experience of attempting to opt out of the rat race by becoming self-sufficient. They grew vegetables in their back garden, milked a goat, tried to knit their own clothes and collected their animal’s waste to create methane to generate electricity.

With the first theatre production of The Good Life just starting a UK tour, a look back at the environmental activists of the 1970s reminds us that those trying to cut their carbon emissions today aren’t the first to aim for a greener lifestyle.

In the 1970s, only a generation after the second world war, many who remembered deprivations and shortages still happily practised the “make-do-and-mend” mentality that had been promoted by the government in their childhoods. Some embraced a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, others just opted for saving money.

For many people in the 1970s, clothes were bought more sparingly and, significantly, were repaired, if a dress needed taking in or a hole appeared. With the rise of fashion chains such as Primark, repairs went out the window for many as replacements were so cheap. But green campaigns are now popping up to encourage people to mend their clothing rather than throw them away.

Well before the Repair Shop became a popular TV show, getting everything from televisions to furniture fixed rather than throwing it away was normal. Many people would do simple fixes at home and shops offering repairs were found on most high streets. Fifty years later, the desire to reuse is only just coming back into fashion, driven by today’s environmentalists.

Food, though, only slightly more expensive than it is now, was a higher proportion of weekly spending by households and leftovers were often turned into meals for the next day now the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from their homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. The pioneers of recycling began to make their mark in the 1970s, building on established household practises such as putting empty milk bottles on doorsteps to be taken away and reused. Many drinks companies offered a deposit on glass bottles which could be refunded if an old bottle was brought back to a shop, a form of recycling that is again under discussion.

Owning chickens to provide a daily supply of eggs has become a trend recently. In the 1970s, this might have been a step too far for many town or city dwellers. But growing vegetables on an allotment, normally land owned by councils, was popular, and many people grew vegetables in their gardens, even if they only had a small plot. Allotment use is bouncing back, with an increased interest in growing your own food.

As well as offering an opportunity to eat fresh seasonal produce at a low price, allotments offered an element of self-sufficiency and offered a sense of community among users. I helped my dad on his allotment and remember the sense of wellbeing it provided as well as the taste of produce that had been harvested only a couple of hours previously.

Households from that period were careful about not wasting energy. It’s notable that since 1970 total electricity consumption has increased by almost 54%. In the house I grew up in, each room had one lightbulb and one power socket. Anything other than one black and white television was viewed as unnecessarily decadent. Video players and the plethora of associated entertainment devices, now common in every household, were seen as futuristic – or hadn’t been invented yet.

Of course, there was plenty that wasn’t environmentally friendly about the 1970s. Coal was the main fuel used to produce power and heat homes. Though increasing energy costs in the early 70s caused some to worry about the amount of heat lost, the vast majority of houses were draughty, and even those just being built did not incorporate insulation that would comply with modern requirements.

Sustainability, and protecting the environment from emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as pollution, were not mainstream issues in the 1970s.

What the government’s net-zero strategy is intended to achieve, it may be argued, is to encourage us to embrace a simpler lifestyle that would have been regarded as standard in the 1970s. Energy resilience and self sufficiency remains an aspiration.

Though there are many obstacles to living like the Goods, especially in urban areas, there’s much we can do to emulate their example. It’s critical we reduce our carbon footprint, cut consumption and engage in activities such as recycling and reuse. And use of fossil fuels – which has almost trebled since 1970 – must be reversed.

The future contemplated by the Goods was one that was better than in their youth. For many Gen Zs, the environmental future looks less optimistic . If those engaged in protest to save the planet could recognise anything from the Good’s story, it’s that those advocating radically different lifestyles are rarely welcomed. As Gen Z now know, environmental challenges they need to confront are much starker.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. LowellHighlander

    I was raised by parents who had been born in the early 1930s, and were New Dealers (in terms of political orientation). For that reason, and because my parents lived paycheck-to-paycheck (with ten kids to feed) until my Mother could re-enter the workforce, frugality was the name of the game in our house. So was self-sufficiency: starting around age 10, if we wanted something, we had to go out and earn it in some way. I was amazed at the seemingly totally different ethic I observed amongst my peers when I went to college in the early 1980s, down South, at a “public Ivy”.

    My larger point is that my wife (a well paid and hard-working physician) and I have several times discussed our desire to teach home economics in high school: how to grow one’s own food; how to repair and maintain old-fashioned reel mowers; how to perform basic landscape construction and maintenance (without using any implement with an engine or electric motor); how to care for wood on the exterior of a house so that it won’t deteriorate from the exposure to the elements; how to use old computers by installing open-source operating systems; how to refinish old furniture; how to refurbish bicycles; etc. [I think I really scored points with my wife, before we got married, when I took her fancy dress shoes to be re-soled at a cobbler; she hadn’t known that shoes could be repaired like that.] The larger point, in terms of economics, is how to stay out of the market, at least for new goods. Going into the market for repairs is usually much, much less expensive.

    But, it seems that courses like home economics and civics were amongst the first to be cut from high schools when States and municipalities started feeling the pressures on their budgets after the Great Financial Crash of ’08. Pity.

    1. John Zelnicker

      October 31, 2021 at 7:24 am

      My parents were children of the 1920’s. My mother’s family was moderately wealthy, but my father’s was the opposite. I heard of stories about him going to bed without dinner because my grandfather had a gambling problem.

      Nevertheless, my mother refused support from her family after they married and I remember her cutting out patterns and sewing her own dresses. She was quite skilled at making leftovers seem like a new meal.

      Later, after I graduated from college in the 1970’s, she built her own French postage stamp garden, comprising 100 sq. ft. She grew numerous vegetables and had more than my parents could eat so she gave away a lot to the neighbors. I still remember eating Silver Queen corn that had been picked within the hour. It was the sweetest, tastiest corn I have ever had.

      Before I left for high school in another city, my mother taught me basic skills that have served me well for over 55 years, including basic sewing, how to iron shirts and slacks (no-iron clothes had not yet been invented), basic cooking techniques, and other useful skills.

      Home economics should be a required course for all middle or high school children.

    2. kswc

      My parents were children in the Great Depression, too. I think schools should teach “financial literacy” starting in Kindergarten. Financial literacy can lead young people to understand economics and making choices for life about career paths. It is just as important as the other subjects taught in schools today.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One would hope the schools would also teach personal subsistence literacy as well. Financial literacy won’t help much when all you have is a wheelbarrow full of money and there is no food to buy in any store anywhere.

    1. BeliTsari

      Thank you for this. We’d seen no problem cycling, walking or backpacking to work, shop, visit. Had one of three food co-ops a 400′ walk away (where we worked, reused glass & metal containers, and ran buying clubs for suburban poor). We’d foraged, urban gardened, fished, dumpster dove and varmint hunted during Reagan’s Miracle. We’d tested soil rejuvinants & organic fertilizers for heavy metals, etc. but ALL of this was FUN, integral with our drop-out lifestyle. We didn’t give any thought to WHY. We’d learned of Clathrate Gun Hypotheses, Polar Vortices, Thermohaline cycle as kids. So making money to buy 2nd hand outdoor gear or bicycles to repair was something we’d attributed to hippies reverting into yuppies. Both of us were citified po’ folks & missed streetcars and bulldozed business districts. We’d helped my mom cut utility costs >30% and got addicted to this, like religion, politics, sex & drugs to contemporaries

    2. juno mas

      On page 20 of the 1968 Whole Earth Catalog are directions for making an Indian Tipi. A few years later after finishing university I had a canvas maker in SB follow the pattern (with flat felt seams). I took the canvas cover to a small commune in Oregon, found 12 lodge-pole pines, stripped and cured them, and erected my Sioux abode facing to the East. Shared the 16′ diameter space for “peace pipe” with the collaborative.

      Traveled with those 12 long poles on the top of my 1954 GMC truck up to Triumph, Idaho. Encountered the charismatic Stubby Street (father of Olympic skier Picabo Street) and the leader of the local co-op. The Streets had a small garden, and animals to maintain their lifestyle away from the hubbub of the nearby ski resort, Sun Valley. Dee Street, Picabo’s mom, was an accomplished musician and an incredible singer—she was a focal point for evening entertainment. Just an amazing time, those Times.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a 15′ diameter teepee was the boy’s xmas present one year, early on, when they were really into indians and cowboys and lonesome dove.
        the canvass, sewed, cost me $200…the poles cost almost nothing.
        testing it…if a bit barracho…with a little hibachi grill with a lid, i stayed in it one freezing night.
        the whole thing is a chimney…and it was quite comfortable, so long as the “door” was oriented to the south, out of the wind.
        that’s an example of Old Tech being superior to new…your average walmart pup tent has nothing on a teepee.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Thanks for this article, Jeri-Lynn. Yes, how things have changed and not for the better.

    Few people saw this coming more fully than Wendell Berry. This is his essay entitled “Feminism, the Body and the Machine” from more than 30 years ago responding to the criticism of an earlier essay of his, “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer.” I had a hard time selecting a teaser section because there was so much wisdom contained in the entire piece, but the following highlights how Berry saw how our Cartesian mind-body dualism led us to a manic hustling toward some magical future that has turned out to be not so wonderful after all:

    The danger most immediately to be feared in “technological progress” is the degradation and obsolescence of the body. Implicit in the technological revolution from the beginning has been a new version of an old dualism, one always destructive, and now more destructive than ever. For many centuries there have been people who looked upon the body, as upon the natural world, as an encumbrance of the soul, and so have hated the body, as they have hated the natural world, and longed to be free of it. They have seen the body as intolerably imperfect by spiritual standards. More recently, since the beginning of the technological revolution, more and more people have looked upon the body, along with the rest of the natural creation, as intolerably imperfect by mechanical standards. They see the body as an encumbrance of the mind—the mind, that is, as reduced to a set of mechanical ideas that can be implemented in machines—and so they hate it and long to be free of it. The body has limits that the machine does not have; therefore, remove the body from the machine so that the machine can continue as an unlimited idea.

    It is odd that simply because of its “sexual freedom” our time should be considered extraordinarily physical. In fact, our “sexual revolution” is mostly an industrial phenomenon, in which the body is used as an idea of pleasure or a pleasure machine with the aim of “freeing” natural pleasure from natural consequence. Like any other industrial enterprise, industrial sexuality seeks to conquer nature by exploiting it and ignoring the consequences, by denying any connection between nature and spirit or body and soul, and by evading social responsibility. The spiritual, physical, and economic costs of this “freedom” are immense, and are characteristically belittled or ignored. The diseases of sexual irresponsibility are regarded as a technological problem and an affront to liberty. Industrial sex, characteristically, establishes its freeness and goodness by an industrial accounting, dutifully toting up numbers of “sexual partners,” orgasms, and so on, with the inevitable industrial implication that the body is somehow a limit on the idea of sex, which will be a great deal more abundant as soon as it can be done by robots.

    This hatred of the body and of the body’s life in the natural world, always inherent in the technological revolution (and sometimes explicitly and vengefully so), is of concern to an artist because art, like sexual love, is of the body. Like sexual love, art is of the mind and spirit also, but it is made with the body and it appeals to the senses. To reduce or shortcut the intimacy of the body’s involvement in the making of a work of art (that is, of any artifice, anything made by art) inevitably risks reducing the work of art and the art itself. In addition to the reasons I gave previously, which I still believe are good reasons, I am not going to use a computer because I don’t want to diminish or distort my bodily involvement in my work. I don’t want to deny myself the pleasure of bodily involvement in my work, for that pleasure seems to me to be the sign of an indispensable integrity.

  3. Sailor Bud

    I do wish there were community programs that would go beyond even what is being suggested here. I’m a big advocate, alone so far in my circles, of an intentional return, much as we dare, to the mechanical world and the hand-made one as a recovery of something lost and a way out of this mess. The trick is always to convince anyone that they’d enjoy it more if we only embraced it as a species. Maybe I’m just wrong. Probably am, but I’m fairly certain it’s what I would feel better in.

    People should know, within much more common groups, all the techniques of ancient and even pre-industrial living. I always found it amazing that I took a whole trigonometry course in high school and was never once shown the lovely woodcuts and explanations in Agricola’s work about how it was used in the older world. It was a whole year of mathematical abstraction in 11th grade, nothing else, and I knew next to nothing coming out of it about simple praxis. Lancelot Hogben’s classic book showed some mining application from Agricola right away in its first chapters, and it did me more good than that whole year.

    People can even find themselves not knowing what they know. Maybe someone can tell us that simple old gunpowder formula of sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal, but then couldn’t locate those things in the world. “What’s saltpeter?” Maybe we have read about simple metals, smelting, and how the history of alloys went along, but have never done a single one of those things out in the wild, as it were, and without help from our bought products. I would bet, if I could prove it, that most modern people have never started a fire from scratch.

    We could have built a world of beauty, intentionally slow in its workings, where nobody has to work even 40 hours. Seriously, think about it: 40 hours, given an 8-hour sleep, is half your waking day, five of the seven days of the week, and they want to pay you next to nothing for all that time you give. If you’re not committed to “work-as-ethos,” or to helping this system further entrench itself, it’s completely evil, and workers had to fight to get the hours that low! Agrarian life was never easy, but I’m pretty sure it could be done better than we did it if there was a will.

    Instead, we congealed around this. As I get older and think about all the great social advances since the Enlightenment, I also have noticed that it gets entrenched in Byzantine legalism, borders, complete solidification and fencing in of who owns what, and little effort made to leave giant open areas of common use across wilderness or open country. This is one of the many things that makes me shake my head about property fetishists claiming to hate “government.” Some big portion of them very obviously love it, far more than I ever have, and for all the social advances, we built a now known and wholly accounted-for world. And I’m an American citizen because I was born here, which sucks eggs.

  4. Frank

    The original Good Lifers were Helen and Scott Nearing. Scott and Helen moved to Stratton Mountain, VT around 1932 where they started “The Good Life.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone named Ralph Borsodi was doing his own version of similar things starting in the early Depression era.

      Here’s a bunch of images of Ralph Borsodi for those who want to do an Image Wormhole Portal search of any random URLs which seem interesting, to see what turns up.;_ylt=AwrE1953PYJhOGMAeV5XNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANBMDYzNF8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=ralph+borsodi+school+of+living+suffern+new+york&fr=sfp

  5. Brooklin Bridge

    What gets me about the 70’s is how utterly helpless we were to really change the political dynamic or the inevitable trajectory we were on. It was impossible to see, never mind fix. Many of the people learning to sew and to sing and to wire their own solar panels and install passive HW systems were the children of those reaping increasing profits by a slow inexorable tilting of the system.

    Population explosion served them well for it greatly increased the conditions for complexity and complexity served as a perfect vehicle for obscuring a relentless profit system built up by slow steady corruption of the political and financial system and hiding long term failure under the guise of incremental progress. Perfectly reasonable building codes came into being along with licensing requirements that tilted new housing construction or even upgrades to professionals that were profit driven. Health care suddenly got expensive. Doctor’s visits were no longer 15 dollars a visit, but out of nowhere 100 dollars and going up. Suddenly insurance became a new necessity of health care and the whole medical industry became a target for the financial sector. Educatation the same.

    We were the children of the piper’s song, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” and we kept putting Vichy democrats back in office because in reality there always seemed to be no other ‘reasonable’ choice except to be super bad guys and throw a brick in the whole thing. It was broadcast just how ‘bad’ that would be particularly by the media, but also by our intellectual leaders such as Chomsky until our eardrums hurt. And by the time offshoring started in earnest with NAFTA, it was too late. We were locked into the monopoly game that flowered with the web in all it’s poisonous glory from the year 2k onward. @bwilli123, gave a brilliant example of the inevitable end result of this process in one commercial area, international supply chains, in yesterdays links, I’m A Twenty Year Truck Driver, I Will Tell You Why America’s “Shipping Crisis” Will Not End

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Thanks for reposting. The best explanation I’ve seen. As the twenty year truck driver states:

      -Nobody is compelling the transportation industries to make the needed changes to their infrastructure. There are no laws compelling them to hire the needed workers, or pay them a living wage, or improve working conditions. And nobody is compelling them to buy more container chassis units, more cranes, or more storage space. This is for an industry that literally every business in the world is reliant on in some way or another.-

      It’s lucky that we have a competent, experienced, Secretary of Transportation that is on top of the problem.

    2. Susan the other

      Yes, BB. I couldn’t have put it together as well because the thing I remember was almost being paralyzed. By the fact that we went straight back to everything we had rejected. As if it meant nothing at all. And everybody got a job, joined the system, borrowed money for a house, etc. Drove two cars. Similar to the late 40s when we jump started a faltering economy; went on a national housing boom; encouraged the baby boom. It seemed pretty insane in 1970, but it was driven from the top. The fact that it was driven from the top is the best part of the lesson. People can be bribed and enticed in whatever direction big money dictates. It didn’t matter that everyone could see we were headed for this very cliff.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Thanks Susan, I find the Trucker’s piece incredibly well written. Assuming the Trucker wrote it, career alternatives in writing would be a seriously good idea to look into if hauling stuff doesn’t work out.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I remember the 1970s as a time of shifting waves of environmental movements. The birds were dying foretelling a Silent Spring, then there was a Populations Bomb, the limits of the Club of Rome, tree-hugging, an energy crisis and Peak Oil, Solar cells on the White House [which Reagan pulled down], solar water heaters and solar business start-ups, culminating in James Hansen’s dire predictions for the future of Earth’s Climate in his 1988 testimony. Anytime the environmental movements threatened to cohere, someone behind the curtain tossed out a new hot rock to shift and fragment a nascent environmental movement. I remember the Vietnam War ended, “Peak Oil” failed, the Population Bomb fizzled, there were no limits to Progress, the Soviet Union split up, and the government started new Wars — this time — in the Middle East. I have no idea what inspiration the 1970s could offer to young — or middle-aged, or old environmentalists. I suppose the 1970s might offer inspiration for dark humor featuring long haired, side-burned, and mustachioed idealists wearing bell bottoms and platform heeled shoes bemoaning the extinction of pygmy green tree-frogs if the logging giants are allowed to clearcut the old growth forest — but at least the tree-frogs will live on forever remembered on the cans of the light beer named in their honor.

      1. juno mas

        Well, the larger environmental movement was an outgrowth of Santa Barbara locals demanding “Get Oil Out” after the catastrophic oil spill from an offshore platform in 1969. It was locals who organized and put political pressure on government. Earth Day was the result. The Clean Water Act was the result. The Clean Air Act was the result.

        What is to be learned is that sustaining environmental progress requires sustaining political pressure. Young and old environmentalists should heed the message.

  6. sd

    It’s my belief that Reagan was ultimately elected because he said, “you can turn up your thermostat, you don’t have to drive 55” thus giving Americans permission to be selfish rather than work towards a greater good. That that was the real reason he was elected, a rejection of sacrifice.

    And here we are today. Had solar energy r&d continued, had the trajectory towards ongoing sustainability been maintained, where might we be now?

    At this point, the only way that I can see to change direction is to destroy corporate profit margins. Stop subsidizing businesses with corporate welfare, stop the discount window, stop tax incentives and subsidies. Rip off the bandaid and kill the economy – whatever that really is at this point because it seems like one big ponzi scheme. It doesn’t even see real anymore.

    I grew up in a frugal household. We had a large garden shared with some others. My mother taught my brother and I to sew – we made about 25% of our own clothing. We picked wild berries and made jams. Cut down trees to heat the house, split and stacked wood. We layered up to stay warm and slept in a finished basement to stay cool. If it broke it got fixed.

    In the US we don’t respect labor or trades. I’ve noticed when I get something fixed that most today are foreign born. Washing machine repair, shoe repair, vacuum repair, etc. Do they still teach shop, auto mechanics or home economics in high school today?

    1. lordkoos

      It’s my belief that Reagan was ultimately elected because he said, “you can turn up your thermostat, you don’t have to drive 55” thus giving Americans permission to be selfish rather than work towards a greater good.

      I think this was definitely the case for many voters. I recall Carter being mocked for wearing a cardigan and telling people to turn down their thermostats, and one of the first things Ronnie did after moving into the white house was to remove the solar panels Carter had installed. The media made a big deal of it at the time. The message to everyone it was that it was OK to live large.

      I sometimes feel that Americans deserve whatever is coming, but most of the people who grew up in the 70s will be dead by the time the jackpot really hits…

      I grew up with parents born in the 1920s who lived through the depression and were old enough to notice what was going on. My dad especially was frugal to a fault.

  7. megrim

    There’s this mid-nineties British show that I love called “The Scrimpers” that is basically a documentary series (I think 6ish episodes) that profiles thrifty British people. It’s not environmentally focused, but it came to mind after reading this article. I believe it’s all on YouTube, here’s one of the episodes:

    NB the YouTube titles for this show all have clickbaity “hoarders” language, but this show is NOT about hoarders at all!

  8. Irrational

    Regarding clothes and shoes: Fixing shoes and clothing requires you to buy good quality in the first places, otherwise it falls apart. I have tried to buy quality stuff and for example regularly have my shoes re-soled until they fall apart. I find it more and more challenging to do as ever more soles are not multiple layers, but one giant plastic part that glue in turn will not stick to – hence no repair possible. Same goes for clothes with more hems not sown, but glued.

    1. john brewster

      Yes, shoes.

      Not only are the shoes impossible to repair, they have a deliberately short lifetime.

      I bought a pair of expensive German hiking boots, which I used infrequently, maybe five times a year. After about 5 years, the plastic soles delaminated and the manufacturer said they couldn’t be repaired.

      After a little research, i found that boot makers had gone to polyurethane for soles because it is very light weight and very springy. The problem is that the oxygen in the air breaks the soles down and they fall apart after about five years.

      I switched to cheaper boots because, if I’m going to have to replace them frequently, there is no point paying for “quality”.

      1. Sue inSoCal

        I think @sd has a point. I agree Reagan was all about zero for any greater good. Quite the opposite. Conspicuous consumption became of overwhelming importance as the years progressed leading to the consumer being consumed. But the 50s paved the way to modern conveniences. I recall having no clothes dryer, no dishwasher, eating leftovers, sewing almost all my clothes, my mother darned socks you name it. I also recall loud bilingual snark should you commit the sin of leaving a light on (what do you think this is? Con Ed?). And then we needed bigger and bigger homes for bigger and more “stuff.” Where we weren’t paying attention was: losing mail boxes and post offices (replaced by Mailboxes Etc etc.) and my favorite pet peeve – no phone boxes/booths and no landlines. Because law enforcement doesn’t like phone boxes, should we not have them? (Remember those private pay phones, like private ATMs in the 90s.) Same as public restrooms. We need them even if they’re a pain to maintain for law enforcement. There was a huge push to ditch landlines because a landline was still considered a utility that was guaranteed without the credit games for seniors. I’m guessing that that old fashioned notion is all over after Covid-19 and the necessity of Skype/Zoom/FaceTime.

    2. KLG

      Allen Edmonds makes great shoes, mostly in Wisconsin (including boots), and they are usually “recraftable.” Expensive, yes. But you get what you pay for. I buy online through their online catalog and wait for sales. Their workmanship and quality control are excellent. As for clothes, I have found the last independent (men’s, sorry ladies) clothing store between Atlanta and Jacksonville, and they sell only the best quality. Their fabrics stout and the tailoring is included. But again, expensive. At my age I will soon buy the last dress shirts and trousers I’ll ever need, though. ;-)

  9. IEL

    I have had good luck with Soft Star Shoes. Leather, handmade in the US, and easy to have re-soled over and over. Not cheap, but they are comfortable and durable. The Chukka design looks like normal office shoes.

    1. lordkoos

      Due to the way my feet are (narrow width, bad arches) there are very few shoes I can wear that support me. Once upon a time you could buy shoes in more widths than “regular” and “wide” but because profits are very important only a few compaines offer width sizes now. I buy Salomon trail running shoes as they fit great and support me (although I consider trail running an insane sport), but they are relatively expensive and the soles wear out quickly while the uppers stay good. When they wear down I have Vibram soles put on and get a lot more longevity out of them. There are still some cobblers around, but not so many.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. i’ve got wide, very flat feet…no arches to speak of.(plus a pound of metal in my otherwise gravel-like left ankle.)
        i only realised this around 20 years ago, when i developed a sort of painful callus on the outside bottoms of my feet.
        trimmed it for a few years, until my tennies wore out(remember, i was cooking for a living)…and replaced them, sort of accidentally ,with pointy toed cowboy boots…with no arch supports…and the callus went away.
        cowboy boots aren’t good for kitchens, of course.
        so i ended up with those cheap steel toed walmart work/hiking boots, with the laces….after surgically removing the arch supports.
        still around $20…and they last me for years, these days.
        most of the time, however, i wear moccasins…walmart, again…go through 3 pair per year…but i don’t hafta bend and twist to put on or take off…reserving the boots for wet weather…or for venturing into the heavy brush.
        this whole thing is not ideal…not least because i loathe walmart…but it’s what i got.

        this last year…even those moccasins have arch supports of a sudden…you know, because the algorithm caters to the Norm…and Normal People need and want robust arch support in their footwear.
        anomalies like me are disregarded/overlooked.

        the one bootmaker around here doesn’t do moccasins, sadly….i’ve asked him, but his market is people who wear cowboy boots, and have sufficient funds.
        i’d love to support such local enterprise, but i don’t make enough of a market to cater to.

  10. Bill Wald

    Agree with all the good ideas that we do to help ourselves.

    The Soviet of Seattle (pun) encourages it. google p patch seattle .

    The people who use it are not poor white or black people. The best example is next to a high rise housing project in Chinatown. In West Seattle, people in million dollar houses plant veggies in the planting strip between the sidewalk and the street.

    I can’t see this idea being exported to Africa or South America.

  11. BeliTsari

    I’m guessing, some folks never quite grasped “peak” oil, or anything else. Maybe, drilling 37K’ from the floor of the gulf, platforms in 6.9K’ or fracking 8 well pads, 20K’, 2 miles out seems to make financial sense? Or jet-powered & bomb-train dilute bitumen peaking plants in poor neighbors, or up and abandoning 97mi ethane collection infrastructure for cracking plants, spewing heavier-than-air lethal wet-gas that explode, six weeks after being installed… this certainly makes LOTS more economic sense than adult, pragmatic, proven technology that rebounded 85% on the international marketplace (such that Biden’s puppeteers gave up, trying buying their way in, and are demonizing & penalizing great Asian firms for their astute innovation, marketing accumen, to forestall the inevitable?)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe it is not so much that people did not grasp Peak Oil … it is much more a matter of some deliberate confusion of its meaning. I believe it is fair to say that most people who assert that Peak Oil proved false, use the term in a way different than its meaning as used in Hubbard’s Report from the 1950s. I recall Science Magazine reported that Peak Oil, in its original meaning, occurred around the end of the first decade of the new Century,

      I am not sure what “astute innovation” you are referring to in the second half of your comment. If you mean solar panels — solar energy businesses started up in the u.s. during the Carter years and the times of the gasoline shortages. Those businesses were went the way of the 55 mph speed limit and u.s. manufacturing and manufacturing jobs at the dawn of “Morning in America™ “.

Comments are closed.