Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about sustainability in terms of four conditions; however, sustainability and sustainable living has other parts that must be evaluated. In the Tools for the Transition to Sustainability, Donella Meadows believe that in order for the sustainability revolution to take over, people must possess the following tools:
- Visioning- means imagining at first generally and then with increasing specificity, what you really want. That is, what you really want, not what someone has taught you to want, and not what you have learned to be willing to settle for.
- Networking- whatever the form, they are made up of people who share a common interest in some aspect of life, who stay in touch and pass around data and tools and ideas and encouragement, who like and respect and support each other. It reminds people that they are not alone.
- Truth Telling- Lies distort the information stream. A system cannot function well if its information systems are corrupted by lies.
- Learning- means the willingness to go slowly, to try things out, and to collect information about the effects of actions, including information that the action is not working.
- Loving- humanity cannot triumph in the adventure of reducing the human footprint to a sustainable level if that adventure is not undertaken in a spirit of global partnership. Humanity must learn to love the idea of leaving future generations a living planet.
I’ve talked about how Unity Gardens is helping the city and the residents in South Bend based on the followings of the Natural Step, yet, at Unity Gardens, they’ve gone above and beyond that because Sara and her organization follow these tools as well. Before I started my internship, I talked to Sara and she told me about her vision of how/what she wanted to do at LaSalle Square (the Garden to Market Education area and the Peace Bees Project). Not only did she describe what she wanted to do but she also made a physical map of how she wanted everything to look. This internship has been a perfect give-and-take relationship because both Sara and I have been able to network with people whom we’ve never worked with before. Being that I am about to graduate next semester, I need to network and meet with as many business people as I can. For me, networking, learning, and visioning are all traits that I could use extra strength in when it comes to the business world. I’m so grateful that Sara has taken a city boy like me under her wing, given me direction, insight, and previously unknown knowledge which has helped to create an even more rounded individual than I was when I first met her in April of 2012. Because Sara has educated and empowered me, I feel that it is my job to get her vision and/or message out to the masses of people who aren’t on the Unity Garden bandwagon. As Donella Meadows asserts, “Vision without action is useless. But action without vision is directionless and feeble. Vision is absolutely necessary to guide and motivate.”