In addition to a perspective on what "Sustainability" is,
learn about a new model which just might facilitate
the evolution toward sustainable civilization.
It is a mapping/scanning tool and a design template
that is built from fundamental principles.
Sustainability can be understood as an ongoing non-static maintenance of systems. On this site, and now in popular culture, sustainability is understood to be ecological, social, economic, etc in its breadth and meaning. This concerns viability and health of ecosystems and societies for a period of time greater than a mere seven generations, and can refer to various scales, be they local communities, bioregions, large continents, or whole ecosystem food webs. In recent years it has become important to consider the basic life support dynamics of the entire planet Earth.
A common mis-
understanding: Global sustainability
is not a technical problem. Nor is it entirely an environmental concern.
The issue is more complex, and in regard to mitigating human impact with human initiated remedies, it will require a multi-modal approach that reaches across all sectors of society. Energy systems that reduce the impact of global warming are important, but alone they will not save the day.
Recycling your cans is a great thing to do, but it will not save the world; a world where social conflicts result in wholesale destruction of ecological systems and human lives. Until all of our children have safe homes, enough food to eat, and real educational and economic opportunities, humanity will not transcend its failure to address the larger scale phenomena, which we now see manifesting through the ravages of climate change, wars, and all too likely in the near future, global pandemics.
Deeper examination reveals that the core of this difficult human challenge is fear. It is because of fear that we withhold food, shelter, clothing, comfort and other essentials from those who need it most. Fears fuel the witholding that prevent us from realizing real collective problem solving on such a basic issue as CO2 emissions, a pollution problem that threatens to acidify the oceans of our world. Ultimately what we need is love and compassion for our fellow humans and the other beings who share this planet. Ultimately what is required is a broader perspective that is not limited by fear or desire. Interestingly, it is our fears and desires which we think ensure our security, but which actually are the seeds of our angst and unhappiness. Fearful, unhappy people are likely to choose actions and lifestyles which ultimately lead to violence and destruction. A classic example is the implication of private gasoline powered vehicle dependency in the USA, with its consequent oil-driven foreign policies; and the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
It does not have to be like this. We can choose love, compassion and freedom. This is freedom from patterns of fear and denial, which is freedom from suffering. Liberation is joy, and connects us directly with life's energies. A key term in this journey is 'enough' - much of the problem rests in the patterns of over-consumption, fueled by marketing hype and a conflation of the need for love with the perceived satisfaction of material consumption, be it food, new toys, luxuries, or other conspicuous use of resources. A koan for all of us is simply "How much do I really need?" What is enough for me?
For those wishing to go further, possibly engaging in change beyond personal lives, there is available a perspective from a more holistic conceptual model. A holistic worldview or even a holographic worldview reveals that all things are connected. It is important to go beyond the conceptual ideas here— all dimensions of being are in fact interwoven and interrelated; there is a state of consciousness where this reality is understood and for at least a few moments every day, it can be lived, embodied and breathed. It is not scary or difficult, it is a release, it is liberation. One day, perhaps inevitably, there will be an ongoing unbroken reality of this freedom. Because, before that moment on some level there is a knowing of a fundamental truth that has been denied.
We cannot develop just one dimension of our being, we must develop all dimensions of our being; all dimensions of society shall mature into a global culture that recognizes no boundaries and no limitations, that maximizes the potential of every human being. Each one of us must be encouraged to realize our magnificence not just as thinkers or artists or scientists or statesmen or healers, but as spiritual beings. Only if we realize this potential of our humanity can we truly seize the opportunity for global sustainability. And it is possible, perhaps simply a matter of how many years before we assume the stature of real adulthood.
This website is dedicated to the purpose of presenting such a conceptual model. The twelve sectors of the Seed Logos in concert with eight-plus levels of Spiral Dynamics offers a template to understand the nature of human global civilization: from where it has been; what it is now in its variegated splendor; and where it must proceed for all of our mutual benefit. This model for a Culture of Sustainability can be applied as a diagnostic tool to assess a social organism at any dimension of scale from family to village to world. It reveals where resources can be most efficiently allocated to enhance performance; not just to nudge society toward sustainability, but to improve functioning for any sector of activity or any standard of performance. It also is a template for designing better human systems. Any dimension of human activity that requires collective action is ultimately recognized as exalted when there is a harmony of integration. Any component is more than the mere sum of its parts, whether it is healthcare, economics, agriculture, governance or spiritual evolution. Each of the twelve sectors draws upon and is either supported or afflicted by the others. All pieces of the pie touch in the center. This model can help birth superior and more effective companies and corporations, more creative and deeply meaningful arts projects, more effective team-based scientific inquiry, and more substantial and rapid spiritual development. It is an integral framework for the evolution of humanity, a humanity that is directing itself toward a Culture of Sustainability.
Varadaan, February 2010 (rev. 2012)