Links Links Links …

A roundup of interesting stuff:

And in Alice Waters/Ameya Preserve news:

For the record, as I said over at Ethicurean, I admire Alice Waters to no end — she’s done great things for American food, and the Edible Schoolyards is a terrific project. However, there is a problematic disconnect going on when somehow sustainability is considered a luxury, and is being shilled as an amenity in a second-home development (not a “community” — community is town, is public. Behind the gate, it’s a development). I don’t care how many solar panels you put on it, a 5000 square foot home that no one lives in most of the time is not sustainable.

5 thoughts on “Links Links Links …”

  1. I just wanted to point out that both SF Eater and SF Curbed got the information about the link between the Ameya donation to Slow Food from my blog–I was the one to dig up that wee fact.

    No worries–I was just saying.

  2. Sorry about that Barbara — I got blogging too fast this morning — meant to point out that you’d linked to the Michael Bauer piece — Luckily, I seem to recall that both SF Eater and SF Curbed give you full credit —
    Great post about the Salon article — I think both Alice’s idealism, and a certain amount of class blindness drive the animosity that came out in the Salon comments. There is a certain “let them eat cake” echo in statements like: “You just decide, OK, well, maybe I won’t rent that DVD.”

  3. I don’t want to single out Alice Waters but I do feel infuriated when I read about similar people who use concerns about ecology or conservation to mask personal greed, as though their motives are purer than others at their economic level. Just buy the huge house and quit trying to convince regular folks that your objectives are connected to a higher purpose. If you want to promote sustainabilty, buy a farm and run it yourself–quietly.
    C. Shepard
    Berkeley, CA

  4. That’s actually the big problem with Ameya — Alice isn’t the real problem, the real problem is that the attempt to greenwash a gated development of big second homes in a dry, high-altitude basin that contains crucial elk habitat. The carbon offsets are not the solution, nor is the (really kind of cool) septic system/grey water irrigation plan because the underlying problem is that this sort of development is antithetical to any kind of real sustainability goals. The greenwashing and the overlay of “culture” are just ways to make their clientele feel less guilty about living beyond the planet’s means.

  5. Thanks–I came across that little connection by accident, and it rang bells and made me go–aha, so I was pleased to have perhaps figured out how she had gotten involved in the Ameya Preserve.

    The thing I want to say is that community can not be created by a developer–it grows on its own, with the work of a great many people, all coming together for common goals. The goals can be great or small, but no one who builds a bunch of houses can be called a community-builder. They are nothing more than a land developer and house builder.

    And yeah, anyone who really understands the environment and how it works would realize that carbon-offsetting isn’t the answer in every case, and certainly isn’t the case with the Ameya Preserve. The land itself, due to climate, soil features, water availability and wildlife needs, simply cannot support what they want to build. If that is the case, calling the Preserve sustainable is greenwashing.

    Oh, and I used to cook for a few very wealthy clients who lived in a similar gated community in Maryland. It was a community in name only–these folks didn’t know each other, and didn’t care to. They just wanted McMansions. And they had them. What astounded me was, as beautiful as these houses were, full of lovely appointments and details–many of them were very shoddily built, out of cheap materials. It was strange.

    I hate it when people wrap their desire to make a lot of money on land development in a green flag of “sustainability.” It would be possible to build a sustainable gated community–just not where they want to build it. Which means they have no real concern for the environment–just making money.

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