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Which One Is Sustainable?

This cute little figure on the left is sitting on the counter in our kitchen. We love it! My son and I picked it out on a warm summer's day during a family outing to the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. This crazy guy reminds us of the fun time we had perusing the booths of beautiful handmade works of art, listening to live music, eating together, and sharing the space with thousands of others from our Omaha community enjoying the same things. The unique creativity has inspired us to make some of our own things out of "trash".

The artisan selling these cool creations made a business out of transforming old metal pieces and parts that others had thrown out into works of art. It's a perfect example of the adage "Trash into Treasure". Good for him, for those who enjoy his work, and good for the Earth. It's a win-win.

You can imagine my dismay to see shelves of lookalikes at a box store in town. This one has none of the attributes I love about the metal guy in my kitchen. Instead, it's been mass produced in a factory on the other side of the world with all new materials. Consider the energy expenditures to transport the raw materials to and fro, the materials themselves, the factory waste, the robotic nature of the manufacturing process, and let's hope the factory workers were treated well. Where's the love? Where's the creativity, the community? Where's the local guy working hard to do good? Our choices matter.

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