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.)
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!
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: