The Center for a New American Dream is back in action!
I want to thank all of our members and supporters who stood by us during a period of transition. I am honored to be the new Executive Director for a newly resurgent New Dream.
I wanted to be a part of reviving this organization because New Dream is one of the few groups that is challenging our hyper-consumer culture and the pervasive commercialism in our lives; that challenges us to examine our values and our assumptions; and that promotes radical, positive, quality-of-life improvements in our lives. New Dream looks at sustainability from an ecological and economic standpoint but also from a personal and community perspective.
We've heard from many of you that you want support for making changes in your lives and in your communities—to help you question what is considered “normal” in our society today. Many of us are uncomfortable with our highly disposable and throwaway culture that is not valuing our time, our non-monetary wealth, our children, our communities, or our planet.
New Dream helps us focus on more of what matters and challenges our cultural assumptions that the accumulation of more stuff makes us happier, that buying green will save us, that nonstop growth is good, and that we can exploit nature endlessly for human purposes. New Dream also provides inspiration, support, and connections to help foster our personal growth toward more leadership and action on issues that matter to us.
If we come together to support each other in individual and household behavioral change, and, more importantly, if we take community and national action together, we can begin to change what is considered “normal” and create new pathways to better living and a healthier planet.
New Dream has three new program areas: Redefining the Dream, Beyond Consumerism, and Collaborative Communities.
Redefining the Dream: The goal of this campaign is to inspire, engage, and challenge Americans to re-examine our cultural values on consumption and consumerism. We want to initiate a national conversation around what “the good life” and the “American dream” mean. We will question how wealth and prosperity are defined, examine the overwork-and-overspend cycle, and focus on the things that research shows improve well-being and happiness. We will highlight stories of living, working, engaging, and organizing that point to ways of doing things differently that are having an effect in improving our quality of life and reducing our impact on the planet.
Beyond Consumerism: The goal of this program is to provide tools and support to families, citizens, and activists to counter our consumerist culture and create new social norms about how to have a high quality of life and a reduced ecological footprint. Under this program, New Dream focuses on combating commercialism, rethinking the work-leisure balance, greening the home, conscious consuming, reclaiming our time, and finding financial security and independence from the mass marketplace.
Collaborative Communities: The goal of this program is to move us beyond our individual household and lifestyle changes to collective action to address shared social, economic, and environmental challenges. New Dream seeks to inspire, connect, and equip our members to create local initiatives that build community capacity and leadership, increase economical sustainability, and foster greater livability and vitality.
We are excited to be back, and we want to hear from you—write to us and let us know how we can best serve you in making changes in your life and in your community. And don't forget to check back often as we constantly improve our website with new videos, blog entries, news articles, activities, and much, much more.
Thank you again for your support of the Center.
Wendy Philleo, Executive Director