Sustainability Studies student
The “Seven Practices of Sustainability Champions” are:
1. Get Credible, Stay Credible
3. Collaborate, Educate, Network
4. Meet Them Where They Are
5. Piggyback Existing Initiatives
6. Influence the Influencers
7. Practice ‘Planful Opportunism’
The area I feel I am growing most is #2 – Dialogue. Through the different courses I
have taken in my academic career none have been as intensive writing-wise as these past
couple of semesters. Oh the irony! The irony that I despise wasting a nice, spring day sitting at a computer writing various posts and papers. But these are the things I’m getting better at. I always take my time to formulate my thoughts and get them in order though they aren’t always expressed on paper…or in today’s age, 1’s and 0’s. So, I continue to struggle in the writing realm. I’m getting better, school has been the cause…and the antidote.
However, the very thing I despise is where I’m growing the most. Don’t take this that I’m not growing in other areas, this is the greatest rate for me. One way I’m growing in dialogue is writing. It just so happens that I’m finding it easier to write, even though I hate it. Being a member of certain online forums and websites I see how easy it is for someone to hide
behind the anonymity of a computer and express displeasure with something another person posted. Those things sadden me. For postings in a school forum those are harder to do as you are accountable for what you write. The internet kills accountability. Enough about that.
Unity Gardens rates very high in all of the “Seven Practices of Sustainability
Champions.” I’m going to touch on just a couple. The first being number 3 – Collaborate, Educate, Network. They are in constant collaboration through use of a blog and newsletter. They also run a number of educational workshops and classes at various locations around
town including their office. By utilizing various methods including radio and television, they have built a network of about 53 unity gardens in the area. These efforts are doing wonders in the Michiana area.
A second area Unity Gardens excels at is number 5 – Piggyback Existing Initiatives. I
witnessed them take on a gentleman who wanted to do a community service project by
utilizing aquaponics. They allowed him to use space in a greenhouse they were adding to the garden. This gave him the chance to use his experience and expand his skills. The ultimate goal is that he wants to do the same thing though on a much larger scale in a couple of abandoned parking lots in the town where he lives. Unity Gardens allowed him to piggyback onto an existing initiative of adding another greenhouse. He then gets the freedom of honing his skills before heading out to do this in a professional environment.
From what I understand, Unity Gardens has a history of being a launchpad for certain
projects like this. I suppose one could consider that as a count towards #7 – Practice ‘Planful Opportunism.’ Either way, I hope you can see how Unity Gardens uses some, if not all of the “Seven Practices of Sustainability Champions” to purpose itself inside the community.
Continuing on the path they are on, Unity Gardens is set to be the premier, personal action, self-sustainment action group in the Michiana region. Then, they will be well down the path of maintaining, building, and sustaining their practices.