Thursday, May 30, 2013

'Grand Strategy' for sustainability

Below is an interview with Mark "Puck" Mykleby from the recent VERGE conference in Boston. It provides a great overview of his work on a "grand strategy" for the US, which shows the interconnectedness of defense, economic prosperity, and ecology -- and how a proactive, systemic approach to sustainability is the best path forward for the country and the world.

He lays out three major areas of opportunity: (1) housing (walkable, smart growth) (2) agriculture (regenerative agriculture); (3) productivity revolution (reduce resource intensity) . For all of these, sustainability is a central concept.

He also notes that higher education is a receptive partner.  Through the ACUPCC and our other education for sustainability work, we've seen colleges and universities demonstrating more and more leadership to engage with other sectors, take advantage of applied research opportunities, role model solutions on campus.

The work around applying "full-specturum sustainability" to regional clusters is particularly compelling. David Orr has been leading this type of work through the Oberlin Project -- a great cross-sector effort with involvement from government, business, schools and colleges, and faith and civic groups. It covers the full spectrum of sustainability, integrating issues around food, art, economy, education, transportation, technology, building, community, etc.

Having a marine talk about strategy for sustainability in this way is a great way to move past the partisan hang-ups and recognize that sustainability is about preserving and promoting a healthy thriving economies and communities.

Stay going.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Create Stillness

by Emilie Oyen. Originally published on The Flame Tree

I'm looking at a painting on the wall that my friend made. It's so beautiful. When I wake up and throughout the day, it makes me happy. It reaches out to me and reassures me too. I love it. My friend is an artist and she's influenced by Japan and Buddhism and other things. The painting is seven or so sweeping, black brushstrokes. It took her probably ten minutes and her entire life, and also her ancestor's lives and all the Buddhists in the world to create it. How can you create a whole narrative, an entire novel, with seven strokes? How did she do that? There is yearning, there is love, there is tension and conflict. There is a tremendous rush and a turbulent fall. There is death and resurrection. There is escape. All in seven strokes.

To create art----do you remember that feeling? Do you remember that time of discipline, self-absorption, patience and wondering for a few months or maybe for years and years and then: one perfect brush stroke. And it is beautiful. It was not so long ago before children, work dinners, cell phones, music television dishes buses began to erode that time of creating.

It requires so much fortitude to create stillness in our lives today. It requires so much trust and patience to dwell in that stillness. To create space, stillness, enter it----and then to listen. That is the act of creation. That is also, I believe, the act of prayer. 

God is the poetry in your blood. Step aside, and listen.