What is Folk Sustainability?

A few days ago, I took a moment to step off the Struggle Bus, the imaginary vehicle I feel like I’ve been trapped on lately, and assessed the situation. There are many factors in life we can’t control, but we can always take initiative in creating some sense of movement and change. Here is a wee bitty toy sailboat I’m sending across a lake; let’s see where the wind will take it. Regardless of where it ends up, it will have created some ripples.

These days, the word “sustainability” often pertains to saving the environment. But there are layers of meaning in this little word, “sustain,” and it can be applied to every aspect of life. To sustain means to endure, to bear the weight, to nourish, to validate. It is my mantra upon waking these days, “I can sustain this. I will get through this.” And what is this? This is quitting a job to help a seriously ailing parent and all of the feelings involved (my horror with our broken healthcare system grows daily).  With all that’s going on, I figure it’d be extremely good for morale to focus some energy on creating and documenting some positive, personal change. And lo, Laura’s Folk Sustainability Project is born!

Google tells me the term “Folk Sustainability” doesn’t exist. Well, it does now. I added “folk” for a couple of reasons. Obviously, I’m a folk musician. As agents of change and keepers of the people’s music, I think every folk artist should look into a sustainable lifestyle. But “folk” is also another word for traditional and ordinary. Folky things are common knowledge. They are totally accessible to everyone. I’m no expert in sustainability, but with a little exploration, I’d like to think I can find my own way down the righteous path of Sustainability, both as a musician and as a citizen of this planet.

Three types of sustainability will be covered in the Folk Sustainability Project:

1)      Sustainable Lifestyle: Minimizing This Musician’s Ecological Footprint.
2)      Sustainable Music: Making Money in Today’s Changing Music Industry.
3)      Sustainable Social Activism: Standing Up. Speaking Out. Taking Action.

All three are deeply interrelated, but separate topics. No doubt I will be grappling with that issue in future entries. I’ll be learning as I go, and I welcome your suggestions and comments. I hope this project will be a source of great information, healing and strength for everyone, not just me.

And look at that, it’s Chinese New Year. What a perfect day to start.

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