What do you think about when someone mentions the "American Dream?" For decades, that phrase generated visions of personal security, opportunity, and happiness. More recently, it has come to focus on material wealth and consumption that go beyond anything our planet has ever had to support.
"We no longer try and keep up with the Joneses," says Viviane Simon-Brown, leader of the Oregon State University Extension Service's Sustainable Living Project. "We now try and keep up with the Michael Jordans. Television is telling you that everyone has more than you."
In an interesting twist, Simon-Brown is about to use television as the medium for a different message. She is part of a team that produced the OSU Extension Service's newest video, "Rethinking the American Dream."
"Recent research indicates two out of three Americans long for a more balanced, simplified lifestyle," says Simon-Brown. "They want to work less, spend more time with family and friends, reconnect with the natural world, and discover new meaning and satisfaction in their lives. Our video can help people learn how to achieve these goals."
Simon-Brown says "Rethinking the American Dream" is designed to raise awareness about our nation's consumptive ways, help viewers evaluate their current lifestyles, and introduce choices that can improve our natural environment and quality of life. She says the video should be useful to anyone who teaches about sustainability issues, as well as individuals who want to learn how they can lead more sustainable lives.
"Rethinking the American Dream" (VTP 30) costs $19.95 (plus s&h). Video by Steve Dodrill, phone: 541-737-0803. Contact: Viviane Simon-Brown, phone: 541-737-319. The video may be viewed free of charge online at http://eesc.orst.edu/agcomwebfile/EdMat/trailers/american_dream.html.
One can also borrow this video, for free, from the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance's Education Clearinghouse, if interested call 1-800-877-6300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orders can be placed via telephone at (800) 561-6719, by e-mail at email@example.com, or by standard mail at Publication Orders, Extension & Station Communications, OSU, 422 Kerr Administration, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.