Friday, January 25, 2008

What is Sustainability? an ongoing dialog, part 1

Since we got the ball rolling back in 2006 for this incarnation of Relevant Times, Jen and I and our enthusiastic staff have continually asked ourselves and anyone who would listen - What IS sustainability?

The only thing that is consistent about the multitude of answers is that it means different things for nearly everyone. It seems to vary depending on an individual's priorities, whether it is family, sustainable local economies, sustainable agriculture, eco-home, etc.

Jen and I take a holistic approach to sustainability in that for us it is a lifestyle and we consider the sustainability not only of the various aspects of our lives, but how these affect the community as a whole.

Things can get complicated when we then see how each 'category' in this lifestyle has its 'shades' of green and varying points of entry for anyone who is curious or interested in beginning the journey towards healthy, more whole living.

There are a million different ways to join the sustainability movement - some are judged greener than others, but who are the judges, where exactly are the standards? There are cool organizations like Co-Op America.

The green-extreme folks argue against carbon offsets being bought by mega-corporations as greenwashing, but at these seminal stages of what needs to be generations of change, isn't ANY step towards a more sustainble way of doing things (especially if it does indeed go towards renewable energy sources and research!) a positive thing?

I know I could easily be accused of being a very pale shade of green in certain areas of my life. I simply don't have the resources to get off the grid, nor am I entirely sure I would want to in my present circumstances.

We often have to make hard decisions that sometimes will compromise our ideals in order to sustain ourselves in a rough and tumble economy and ever-challenging world.

We would really love to hear your thoughts on this!


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