Sustainability is an over used term. It is often mingled and mixed with other metaphors to create oxymorons like "sustainable development" or "sustainable growth". In fact like our planet has demonstrated over billions of years, sustainability is not about growth. The earth is still the same size it always was. Its about equilibrium. Its about a carefully tuned and balanced steady state that has built in mechanisms to keep it in balance. Nothing grows without something dying to make room for it. Nothing is added without something being subtracted. Everything just changes form, from one to another in a closed system we call planet earth.
Building a Sustainable Community is all about finding a steady state system. Therefore it must focus on our own back yard, on our own personal lifestyle choices, on our individual sustainability. Being spirits in human form however we still have a burning need to grow and learn and explore new horizons of knowledge. Often we interpret this desire as a need to expand our physical world and acquire more possessions and physical wealth. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. To grow as a human being requires time and nothing robs us of more time than our misguided drive to acquire stuff.
A sustainable community is not made of houses and streets. It is made of people sharing a common ideal, communicating and loving, supporting each other in the joys of life. Building community is taking the time to reach out and touch your neighbors’ lives. Houses and streets are important but only as a support infrastructure to help foster sustainable lifestyles. If you are a community planner or someone involved in the building of community infrastructure please keep this in mind. There are countless ways to encourage sustainable living in your community but ultimately your community must want to move in that direction. How close is your community to being sustainable? Take the community challenge test and find out.
A truly sustainable community is comprised of a group of people living a sustainable lifestyle, having the time to love and take pride in what they do, caring for their neighbours and their family. Such a community is built one person at a time and the best any of us can do is to be that one person. That is why we primarily focus our efforts on living a sustainable lifestyle ourselves. It is only in response to requests from others that we are prepared to share our understanding of personal sustainability.
We are available to speak about quality of life and sustainability to your group, assembly or service club. We can also facilitate a sustainability workshop or if you like we can visit your community and perform a sustainability review to generate some formal recommendations for the town planners to consider. If you are interested please write us and tell us about your community and your event.