The title of this blog works on many levels- it plays off of my belief in hybrids being a critical step towards our future, the fact that introspection and mindful planning are critical to our future, and that the future is literally in sight for those that are willing to see it. Here I chronicle my attempt to Be the Change I wish to see in the world-and to help make that Future a Reality.
Being Eco Aware in a Fortune 500 company can be interesting. Some of it is great-everyone wants a test drive in your hybrid, but it can also get weird when they want to feel the texture of your organic hemp shirt. Last week in a lull during a meeting in a peer’s office while he took another call I filled the gap by sketching a rough diagram of The Funnel on his dry erase board and as he finished his call I proceeded to regale him with a 90 second version of my deep concern about the results of our current rampant consumerism and its effect on the population limits of our Earth mixing in various elements of ideas such as ecological footprint, Peak Oil, the effects of the melting of the Himalayan glaciers on water availability in India and China, etc. to such an extent that the overall effect was to stun my peer into silence. The Green Bug rears its head at odd times.
One of the biggest arguments (discussions?) that I get into at work is that Green is "too expensive" or "bad for business". These arguments often start from associates that think of me as the "treehugger" or "that environmentalist guy". That was a badge I had worn with pride, but that is changing the more involved I am become in systemic change in our Village. Our Smart Growth steering committee is the first really diverse committee that I am participating in. The Green Committee is pretty safe-we're all treehuggers-whereas the Planning Commission which constitutes 75% of the S.G. steering committee has a healthy mix of business people that better matches our village as a whole. At our second meeting this week the "us v them" tone started to creep in at times. As a Village we want to push for some fairly radical changes in planning-especially for rural America-cluster development, biogas generation at the treatment plant, narrower streets, less parking, smaller lots, etc. Any one alone is fairly easy to defend (though the smaller lots will be a stretch), but taken all together at once and walls started popping up. Why?
This change in my thinking has been coming steadily for some months now. So much so that I bought a new book to further flush out my thoughts. The Sustainability Revolution, by Andres Edwards is now on my armchair stand and is proving to be dead on for where I was heading. Here is how Edwards breaks down Sustainability core beliefs into the 3 (6) "E's" which are virtually identical to The Natural Step's.
Ecology/Environment This "E" is framed by three broad concepts: long term not short term thinking, a focus on the systemic understanding of ecosystems critical importance to human life, and finally the strongly held belief that there are limits to the amount of life that the ecosystems of the Earth can support.
Economy/Employment Here is where Edwards (and the Natural Step) begin to grow beyond the traditional Environmental movement. Sustainability focuses on the critical importance of secure, employment and economies that do not overstretch their ecosystems. There isn't a community on Earth that can be truly sustainable if they cannot meet the needs of their citizens-impoverished Africans will harvest bushmeat and American farmers will turn more and more to industrial agriculture without a viable economic alternative to feed their families and pay their bills. Amory Lovins and Paul Hawkins take this out to a much higher level in their brilliant work, Natural Capitalism.
Equity/Equality Without going all socialist here, the world does not have a resource shortage, it has a distribution problem. Ok, I'll go alittle socialist-moral issues such as famines and homelessness are all the more terrible because they are preventable if we could just redistribute the wealth/resources already in use in our society. Edwards also stresses community building in this "E" recognizing the inherent importance in concern and cooperation with ones neighbor. "At a fundamental level, members of a sustainable community understand that the well being of the individual and the larger community are interdependent." We fight for a win win between the owls and the loggers even if we lose perfection in the process. Winning battles the wrong way can lose us the war.
I align myself much closer to the solution building philosophical framework of Sustainability that is willing to allow some flexibility to attain the greater good-less focus on short term achievements than long term goals. But I will still be proud to be called an Environmentalist-at least until the Eco Spin Dr's can come up with something better than Sustainabilitarianist...Stumble It!
I have been giving Global Warming alot of thought lately. I finally got around to watching Inconvenient Truth a week ago at a free public showing at our Village Hall and that kicked me into a bout of Doom and Gloom. My fear is that we are entering into a feedback loop of warming that will make averting the pending disaster of massive sea level rise virtually impossible. Hit the Asia-Pacific page of the BBC today. Jakarta is under 13 feet of water with 340,000 evacuated due to record rains and China is in a nasty drought with the warmest winter in 30 years melting off the snowfall early. Now shoot forward a generation, and potentially, that is now what Jakarta looks like all the time and China's billion's are without water because the Himalayan glaciers that feed their rivers are gone. That is some scary sh/t.
I've think I have finally overextended myself. With the 2 village committees, work, the Green Sanctuary at church, Someday Gardens, Groovy Green, and the family I am about maxed out. Then this past week I started prepping for my annual Home Owners Association meeting and I crashed. I have almost no creative energy, and combined with the bitter cold I am doing almost nothing but making bread, cleaning, reading junk fiction and playing old video games. I am trying to work on a refresh of the Eco-Veg series for Groovy Green, but condensing 4000 words down to 2000 or so is difficult on something that is probably too broad to begin with and I can't make any progress. We'll see.