TOWARD AN INTEGRAL SUSTAINABILITY
Living Fully, Living Sustainably
We all want to live full and happy lives. It becomes increasingly clear that this is what sustainability is all about, for sustainability can be defined simply as the capacity of a living system, including human society, to survive and thrive. It does this by adapting to – learning to work with – the world it shares with others. ‘Integral’ refers to the fact that sustainability must include every aspect of community life as well as all the stakeholders if it is to be truly effective.
Over the past four years I have worked with the town of Bedford, NY – www.Bedford2020.org – to develop an approach to sustainability that is integral in this way. A lot has been achieved, including a Climate Action Plan, an implementation structure, two summits to engage the community and a variety of programs. We are now attempting to take the process to a new level by deepening and widening our conversation.
The deepening conversation is about redefining what it means to be a human being today and fostering behavior and structures based on this redefinition: a cultural transformation, in other words. The widening conversation comes from the realization that the challenges of sustainability do not stop at our town borders and that we must therefore (learn to) engage with others who may not think as we do: a movement for change, in fact.
To help us develop our approach into a model that would be replicable we have joined with Greentowns – www.greentowns.com – in order to exchange experiences with other communities who are trying a similarly comprehensive approach..
Finally, we are exploring ways to bring this growing voice to the world conversation by collaborating with larger networks, specifically the United Nations and the 2oth anniversary of the Earth Summit (Rio+20) in 2012.
I am offering to explore this kind of comprehensive approach to sustainability with other towns so that we can create a movement together that will lead to the changes we need in order for all of us to live fully.
Your wise counsel and amazing insight has been invaluable to our B2020 efforts.
Through enhanced communication and clarity of vision, you inspire all who seek to build a sustainable community. Lee Roberts, Town Supervisor, Bedford, NY