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Sustainable Cities and Communities

The vast majority of us live in communities. Too many of us live alone in those communities. This is contrary to sustainable cities and communities though.

A Look At Sustainability

The definition of sustainability is as follows:

Sustainability is a societal goal that broadly relates to the ability of people to safely co-exist on Earth over a long time.

Wikipedia

Maybe you don’t know what co-exist means, but it means share with equity. This is one of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 that is both National and Global. I cannot interact globally as a single person (I am NOT Greta Thunberg) but I can and do act locally and nationally.

There are a lot of photos in that gallery above. Every last one of them has something to say about sustainability and humanity. Cities and communities are made up of resources, purpose, and humanity – and they all matter.

Being the change is as easy as accepting that you need to realign your mission and purpose to change. there is zero risk in change to you personally. We are evolved to change, we afraid of the unknown.

As I remind myself daily on a poster of part of a poem by e.e.cummings:

“Love’s function is to fabricate unknownness;
for the known is wishless — but love is all of wishing.”

e.e.cummings

Go ahead and imagine what it looks like to be the sustainable change in your family, your community, your school, your town, nation, world. Don’t be afraid to do it. But do it with love and purpose, and do not ever do it from a place of fear – after all, love is all of wishing.

More Than One Path

The City of Columbus in 2023

This is Columbus, OH (in the US) the city I live in. My farm, Mezzacello is 21 blocks east of this river and these towers. I’ll bet you are wondering what this photo has to do with sustainability, right?

Well, I’ll tell you. Look at all those paths to hope! That river is seriously prone to flooding and it causes enormous damage to the city ever 40-50 years and people have lost everything again and again.

So our mayor at the time, Michael Coleman, started a campaign to “rewild” the river that was surrounded by 8 meter (26′) tall walls. His vision was to remove all dams, and walls, and create parkland and paths that could easily absorb water in times of flood.

This has had three huge impacts: No more crazy floods, people now use and love the river, life is attracted back to the area. A simple thing like making a river beautiful can have local, regional, and national impacts on sustainability.

I am proud of this river, these parks, this city, and the things I can do within it now that I couldn’t before. Loving something makes it so much easier to be sustainable. Finding truth and beauty and then acting on it, that is sustainable.

The Role of Kintsugi

Kentsugi is an ancient art in Japan. It is when something is broken and can’t be returned to original, so we take the broken pieces and honor them to make them whole, broken, but beautiful and useful once more. This is the essence of sustainable and it is what I love about the Columbus riverfront.

They took something industrial, polluted, and dangerous. They took it apart, reframed it, and refashioned it. Now it is beautiful and useful in many more ways that it ever was originally.

That’s what we need to do in our communities and cities. Be there for everyone AND ourselves. rebuild or start to build to make something that is better than it was. Make it better for as many people as you possibly can.

Pay It Forward with Purpose

It will pay you back tenfold. And the currency will sustain you, your love and give you purpose. Purpose is the most sustainable thing a human can have – it pushes you to want to be more.

We can all use a bit of that.

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