[ Copyright Stuart B. Hill ]
(Reprint. Points to consider for discussion)
- Working with the processes of change (personal, social and ecological); the importance of ‘small meaningful initiatives we can guarantee to carry through to completion’; Lewin’s ‘Force Field Analysis’ (driving and restraining forces); and the public sharing and celebration of change.
Bragging about examples from your past and present; dreaming and planning about initiatives for the future (in relation to your personal wellbeing and relationships); keeping track of your progress.
- Expanding our awareness – building on our past, preparing for our future – and its relationships with empowerment, vision, values, relationships, wellbeing and effective and meaningful action.
[ A talk presented to the Alberta Round Table on the Environment and Economy & the Alberta Environmental Network, by Dr. Stuart B. Hill, Associate Professor of Entomology & Director, Ecological Agriculture Projects (11 June, 1992). Reprinted with permission, October, 2008 with augmented content. ]
My aim in this presentation is to be supportive to everyone here (and to whomever subsequently reads this transcript) in the development of your own unique thoughts and actions related to the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development.
Let me first say that for me, sustainable practices are those that help repair and maintain natural systems; and development refers to human development, that is individual, community, and species psychosocial development and evolution. Thus, I define sustainable development as the maintenance of the planet and its ecosystems for optimal, equitable human development.
The Art and Science of Blinking
Around 2,450 years ago the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea was perhaps the first to methodically question a simple fact of life - how do we physically move, such as when blinking an eye, running, or simply falling down?
His questions and arguments, which have become widely known as Zeno's Paradoxes, pointed to the seemingly logical impossibility of the everyday experience of physical movement.
His considerations have perplexed and troubled philosophers and scientists even since. Various assumptions that underpin our modern technologies and sciences were taken for granted. We take for granted that there is always a physical cause for every physical effect - as exemplified by scientists researching to find physical cures for disease, cancer and viruses; and to find the physical genes or brain cells responsible for thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and the experience of love, creativity and joy.
Now, with the advances in the field of quantum physics, we know that a 2,450 year era is nearing its end .. an era in which it has been assumed that our physical brains, bodies and the entire physical universe is continuously existent. An era in which each part (atom, virus, cell, organ, person, planet) was assumed to be continuously existent and functional, with every part contributing to the running of, or dysfunction of, the machinery of life.
We stand at the edge of a grand new understanding of our universe, and ourselves. As Visa International founder Dee Hock foretells, a new era
is struggling to be born -- a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of the regeneration of individuality, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence such as the world has never dreamed."
[Reprinted with permission, 25 November, 2013 - 8.13pm]
In light of the current, revolutionary advances in the natural sciences and in the study of consciousness, the concepts of matter, life, and mind have under-gone major changes. This paper outlines some basic aspects of these changes, taking in turn the emerging concept of matter, of life, and of human mind and consciousness.
The concept of matter
"Sustainability" is one of those loaded terms that is usually taken to mean "living smaller" - of having to ride bicycles to work, reducing our lifestyle, and cutting back on overseas travel ... which all means less choice, freedom and fun!
The expectation that sustainable business practices will reduce profitability is likewise often assumed. Not much fun in that.
[ Copyright Dr Werner Sattmann-Frese 2009]
Notions of ‘Sustainable Living’ have recently been considered in relation to topics such as clean air and water, Permaculture and solar panels.
Whereas such environmental initiatives and government programs are important and will continue to play important roles in the ecological recovery of this planet, there is now also a growing awareness that to live sustainably we will also have to address the emotional and psychosocial aspects of sustainability.
The participation and well-being of individuals within all stratas of society are important to the viability of sustainable living programs and practices.
[ © Stuart B. Hill 2003 ]
Does it support: empowerment, awareness, creative visioning, valuesclarification, acquisition of essential literacies and competencies, responsibility, wellbeing and health maintenance, vitality and spontaneity (building & maintaining personal capital – personal sustainability)?
Does it support: caring, loving, responsible, mutualistic, negentropic relationships with diverse others (valuing equity & social justice), other species, place and planet (home & ecosystem maintenance)?
Does it support: positive total life-cycle personal development and change?
- Does it support: accessible, collaborative, responsible, creative, celebrational, life- promoting communityand politicalstructures and functions (building & maintaining social capital – cultural [including economic] sustainability)?
Does it support: the valuing of ‘functional’ high cultural diversity and mutualistic relationships?
Does it support: positive cultural development and co-evolutionary change?
As many business entrepreneurs appreciate, the really important things in starting and running a business are primarily 'mental' -- it's our vision to make a difference, to do things better and to test ourselves that fuels and motivates.
But what about the people that we employ?
It should be no great surprise that for "businesses that pay most regard to the deeper needs of their employees are the ones that perform best."1
The challenge faced when creating a strong, vibrant culture in a business is the intangible 'mental' dimensions - what we think, feel and believe about our work, fellow employees, customers, the work environment etc.
Finding our way home
Given current world circumstances (e.g. the 2008 global economic situation; recent and current controversies in the USA over the teaching of "Intelligent Design" and recent demonstrations against cartoons and books that are deemed blasphemous) perhaps it's timely that we gain a fuller perspective. It is quite evident there are conflicting views on what is "Truth."
Is Intelligent Design a valid alternative to the Theory of Evolution? Is it genuinely blasphemous to create an image of that which is deemed sacred? How can we see our way clear of the jungle of conflicting faiths and beliefs?