Sustainability is a concept that has always been taught to us by the natural world. A sustainable system lives without waste, all needs of the users are met, and life can thrive without limiting future generation’s abilities. It is only in our separation from that natural world that we lost the message.
I believe that the world is on the cusp of an Idea Revolution, much like the Industrial Revolution. However, because the Industrial Revolution came first, we as humans were able to unleash our creativity in a multitude of ways before we were able to fully discover their complete impact. What we have learned after the fact is that there is an interconnectedness that binds us all not only to each other, but our environment. Our rapid success in technologies gave way to a collapse in ecological systems, which is expanding to this day.
Thus, Johann Dréo has developed this tweak to the original Venn diagram that is now (hopefully) famous.
In this simple concept, it is clearly visible that a sustainable society is the most productive, socially responsible, profitable, and ecologically healthy society. Great! But what is a sustainable society? Glimpses of sustainability can already be found in fleeting examples. Small eco-villages where all residents share decision-making and food growth results in everyone’s happiness, or cooperative businesses where the organization is owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit.
If it can be agreed that these are real examples of sustainable societies, what are their common denominators? What rules, or cultural frame, did they use to reach this state? Now that they are here, are they simply sustainable for life? What will it take to sustain sustainability?
These are all questions that need contemplation. I challenge the Pacific Lutheran community to think of sustainability as a journey, not an end state. Please submit any related material, evidence of sustainability, a charge to push its growth, or tools we may be able to use. My hope is that this blog will help to guide the discussions, ideas and even conflicts that arise as we all take this journey together.
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We’re all crew.”
– Marshall McLuhan