Sustainability means Forethought

I originally composed this in response to Questions and Reflections in March of 2008.  I think it’s worth sharing here…

For me sustainability means Forethought… Fulfillment of needs (first) and desires (second) with consciousness of that fulfillment’s true impact and cost. In a sustainable system every player and every part must be considered in context of the Whole of which it is part.

It is my belief that the present civilization has everything it needs for ALL to live in sustainable abundance. The appearance of scarcity and lack are not Actuality but a reality based in horrific mismanagement and parasitic mentalities. It is accepted practice for an individual to seek out the greatest material gain regardless of larger imbalances; regardless of the risk, expense, and short fall to any other organism. Yet the economy of any organism/organized system is very much the corner stone to the sort of energetic dignity the organism maintains. (Think – root law of Cause and Effect necessitating Awareness of action and energy exchanged; economy is energy exchange; the quality of the harvest reflects the quality of the cultivation.) An economy of hording and greed propagates a reality of shortage, depletion, and extinction. An economy of Awareness and sustainability, based on Wholes instead of parts, creates sufficiency, refinement, and renewal.

Thus I feel that in our quest for sustainability, personal and collective economy will require refinement and redirection. Sustainability is greatly facilitated by eradicating the consumer mentality which values production and consumption above responsibility and true quality of Life. As our consciousness of Resources increases, so will our sustainable state.

(Note: I define Resources as the goods and services of both Nature and Humanity.)

World Change, Permaculture, and Sustainability

If the world is to be healed through Human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear!

~ Joanna Macy

I recently received an e-mail update on the World Change Conference being sponsored by Common Circle Education in Berkeley, California.  As someone interested in the intentional communities movement and intentional, sustainable lifestyles, I have followed Common Circle for years.  I deeply appreciate that they share the skills that ultimately build healthy communities.  And I love this formula that they offer on their site:

INTENTION + PRESENCE + PERMACULTURE DESIGN + HEALTHY COMMUNITIES = TRUE SUSTAINABILITY

Anyhow.  Aforementioned e-mail led me to many links I thought were worthy of passing on here…

The Earth Precepts

Video: Permaculture 101

Permaculture Principles

The Northwest Institute

Transition Culture

Gaia Trust

The Great Turning

Bioneers

Regenerative Design Institute

Ecocity Builders

The Great Turning Times

Living Mandala

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Permaculture Magazine

Aranya Gardens

Friends of Earth

And a few videos… enjoy!

Be Aware: Keep Evil out of the Fridge!

If you have watched Food, Inc. then you likely remember Monsanto by way of their Nazi-esque lawyers, fighting tirelessly against the American Farmer and People on behalf of Genetically Modified Organisms everywhere.  Monsanto is scary stuff.  And if I were to start including the word ‘evil’ in my vernacular, I’d apply it to them first.  In fact, did I mention that their name means ‘Sacred Mountain’ and that Satan is often referred to as the Lord of the Mountain?  No joke.  I’ve also read that they bring their people straight into the present day from a time-machine developed in their lab to seek out the soul-less, extract them from their wicked past, and fashion them as corporate heads… not good.

Not only is Monsanto disproportionately rich and powerful, they presently own – that is, hold patent on – over 90% of the seeds used to sustain America’s food supply.  Putting all our eggs into one basket isn’t the best idea to begin with, even the basket of the best Samaritan as any number of things may happen…but what about putting all of our precious eggs into one really greedy basket that wants nothing more than to hold all the eggs?

Nearly every non-organic food product can be linked to Monsanto directly (i.e. without any degrees of separation) through one or more of its ingredients.  So guess who’s regularly one of organic food’s biggest adversaries?  Guess who makes no bones about wanting full control?

Inspired by this blog I’m jumping on the bandwagon to expose the evil that might be disguising itself beneath a variety of false but appealing appearances in your pantry and fridge.  As Bob Cesca (of aforementioned blog) says, “Let’s make Monsanto a household name!”  In the spirit of avoidance, that it.   In the same way word quickly spreads about any other plague.

The best way to counter their presence is to buy organic and obtain what you can from local Farmer’s Markets and cottage industries.  If that isn’t possible, limit your exposure to processed foods; stick with labels that your grandmother would understand! Or, better yet, start growing whatever you can!

P.S. ~ Don’t be fooled by the rather shining statements released by Monsanto’s PR rep in favor of organic, sustainable, non-GMO agriculture.  In fact, let it illuminate that such only makes them slick tongued as their actions clearly and loudly speak the complete opposite.  This is a rather obvious attempt to put some distance between themselves and evil incarnate in the eyes of the press, who drives their public, who lines their pockets.  If you let it soften you, kudos to Monsanto’s PR department.  Score for them.  Personally, I’m hoping that when they got that extra dose of greed in their construct, it was at the cost of sufficient intelligence.  Case in point –  as part of their image-altering campaign Monsanto’s representative claims that he himself only consumes locally grown, organic produce and meats!  Excuse me?  Is anyone else hearing a really shrill alarm??  This is certainly no proof of the big heart they claim to possess (unless we are talking about the one they have locked in a box somewhere and held in awe by their leaders as the one treasure they cannot patent).  That their own representative avoids feeding their genetically engineered products to his family, couldn’t be a more glaring testament to the true nature of this corporate beast.

Conscious Consumerism

Conscious consumerism first requires local action, which is largely facilitated through the concept of bioregionalism.  That is, we are called on to think about the impact of our choices on the local region and consider purchases from the standpoint of sustaining the local biodiversity.  For many that means changing the way we acquire things.  It means shopping local vendors, supporting local agriculture through the regional Farmer’s Market and CSA projects, and discovering your area’s talents and intelligences.  It means stewarding the local community and its unique culture.  Imagine what people united in this effort can accomplish!

Where to Find Organic Products and Services in your area.

Where to Find CSA Farms in your area.

Where to Find a Farmer’s Market in your area.

Where to Buy Fair Trade Certified Products in your area.

How to support Local Farmers.

How to implement your own Sustainable Action Plan.

How to start your own Buy Local Campaign. (PDF Document)

I am from a rather radical school of thought that thinks in a Golden Civilization – a Civilization truly illuminated by the Light of Consciousness – a community that wasn’t sustainable wouldn’t exist.  This is the “solution” for providing sustainable abundance to All (if that is what you desire for the Future).  In keeping with this radical idea I also think that things are best priced based on their true resource and energy consumption (that includes Human energy), and should become more expensive the further they have to travel to arrive at your door…but that’s just my freaky dream of a good future economy!

Back in today’s world, however, if you can’t find what you’re looking for where you live, here are a few good places to turn:

The Conscious Consumer Marketplace

EarthLover

Global Girlfriend

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

The Back to the Land Store

Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

I am nearing the middle of a week-long fast right now, so it feels rather peculiar to be discussing dietary preference.  However, I’ve wanted to share this book trailer for Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows for some time now, and am ecstatically working my way down a list I plan on discarding by the day’s end!

So, a friend gushed over this book and posted the trailer.  The trailer prompted me to borrow it and see for myself!  As promised, even if you’re already Vegetarian or Vegan, this remains both insightful and compelling!  I have seen many reviews which suggest this book makes the inconvenient truth of  “Carnism” more accessible to carnivores, and while that may be true, I feel its most important to focus on the unique spirit of this information – which doesn’t blame or shame an individual for their choice.  Rather, what makes this book so original, logical and compelling is that it examines our relationship to animals and diet from a cultural perspective and gets people thinking about how to take responsibility instead of blaming a faulty system for their choices.  Selective empathy is a conscious choice!

Unchopping a Tree – a Call to Environmental Action

Renowned American architect and artist Maya Lin, designer of Washington’s Vietnam Memorial, produced this video.  The piece supports the  “What is Missing Foundation?” and was unveiled at the Support REDD+ Gala to honor the UN program which helps keep the endangered forests in developing nations standing.  It has a solemn, peaceful yet pointed quality that renders it haunting.  Take a look…

Biochar – renewing the Earth with carbon negative Love

I recently learned about biochar from the International Biochar Initiative.

Biochar is essentially a fine-grain, highly porous charcoal that helps the soil retain its nutrients and water.  It is found naturally in soils where a vegetation fire has occurred, and resists degradation across surprisingly long spans of time.  Where biochar is present, carbon can be retained by the soil for hundreds – if not thousands – of years!

Of course we can naturally mimic the biochar process, also called pyrolysis, by replicating historic soil-management practices  where vegetation was intentionally burned with a high heat to nurture both earth and vine.  One of the most impressive uses of this process comes to us from the Amazon Basin.  Over two-thousand years ago, islands of biochar-rich, dark  soil were created for crops, which to this day retain their supreme fertility and high levels of neutral carbon.

The International Biochar Initiative envisions using the process to remove carbon from the atmosphere and naturally store it in its inert form in the soil, as a nearly permanent soil enhancer.  This simple, easily scalable technology they propose could also produce clean energy for heat and power as its byproduct.