Conscious Goods Alliance
On June 15th, 2008 the Conscious Goods Alliance hired me to embark on a three-month national tour promoting sustainable consumerism. The Alliance is compromised of 12 companies with strong environmental foundations. Six crew members and I were responsible for a 32 foot tour bus equipped with solar panels, coconut wood floors, bamboo cupboards, and a converted engine that runs on recycled vegetable oil. This opportunity allowed me to observe the various resources available in the United States and how they are utilized on the local level. The trip also served as both an intersocial and intrasocial experiment. In many ways I was conducting field work. My subjects were the people we met, my crew members, and myself.
Crew members originated from different parts of North America and arrived with no prior introduction. I found it miraculous that we all managed to have our basic needs met despite working tirelessly to keep the tour afloat. The bus often broke down, and we were challenged to work together to find mechanics who could address our converted vehicle. We also continuously collaborated to find our own fuel sources, navigate routes through cities, organize contacts for the use of running water, and maintain correspondence with tour managers, sponsors, and Whole Foods representatives. My personal, social, and professional life became integrated, and I had to learn how to stay grounded and efficient while constantly moving. I was challenged to remain clear and focused and also understanding of the needs and sensitivities of others. People of all ages, lifestyles, and socioeconomic and political backgrounds welcomed our crew with questions about sustainability as a practice. I took the on the role of posting a regular blog to keep the public current on the tour through the perspective of a crew member.