Sustainable Living…

with 9 comments

Sustainable living…What does that mean? Is it just about food? Just about dirt? If you talk to a vineyardist, it seems to be all about dirt and bugs. Many of us have adopted a fairly narrow view of things. We’re specialists and we have to be to survive in our chosen field. That’s all right but let’s relax for a moment and realize that we really want a sustainable world. Sustainable jobs, sustainable health, we want our families to endure and prosper, we want good and healthy neighbors, not enemies.

So I went looking for accepted, useful and thoughtful definitions and low and behold, I found this marvelous Graphic on Wikipedia :

I invite you to study it with me and comment if you care to. It covers more ground than I had considered in the past and has opened up new realms of speculation for me. Let’s rethink our world and begin again to shape it directly, shall we? ~Bob


Written by Paul Berg

August 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Economic??
    Has this not been discredited? Could anyone present “sustainable economics”?

    Checkout my approach to “sustainable”:

    Thanks, Hearthstone.

    Mr. Jan Hearthstone

    August 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    • Jan, Thanks for responding. I think “reasonably sustainable” is adequate in our present situation. nothing lasts forever. Note the terms viable, equitable and bearable and where they fall in the graphic.
      I don’t think economics can be separated from our experience here on earth in any way, nor is it helpful to attempt that. It is one of the systems we’ve put in place after “modeling” our experience past the hunter-gatherer stage. Just as the move towards eating meat allowed us freedom from 24/7 grazing for protein, the economic systems we developed allow us to bank VALUE and to trade it for comparably valuable goods and services. We have many many models already in place that we currently ignore in favor of solitary pursuits and pleasures thanks to these fully invented freedoms. It is the ignoring of past wisdom and the failure to assume our responsibility in their actualization that leads to the breakdown of our culture. I enjoyed reading your work on your website but I think we depend too greatly on our tools already and after all the computer is just another tool with no more value than the tasks we present to it. As we look around us there is great need evident and we are capable individually and collectively of addressing it in as far as we can shed our ego and defer judgment in favor of service to our fellow beings. Consider the possible effects of one electro-magnetic pulse on our current lifestyle to see how wrong we going. a quick you tube search for EMP pt1 and EMP pt2 will bring up enough references to explain what I’m referring to.

      Q: what did one wave say to the other wave?
      A: if we could just get the input of all waves in the ocean we could model a better ocean that keeps us from dying as we hit the shore.

      Peace and growth on your journey to the shore,

      Bob Barclay

      August 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

  2. Dear Bob,

    the problem is with words and, in general, with all forms of communication.

    We, humans, are so deeply conditioned by our respective cultures that no mater how hard we try, we use all forms of communication to suit our interests; it is a curse.

    The same words and diagrams presented to someone living in the USA and to someone from a Third World country would be read differently.

    We try to realize the meaning of communication, but, because different people might (and do!) read the same communication differently, we, inevitably have to reconcile the differences (engendered by our different respective subjective understandings of the whichever communication) in real life/time, with to us very well known consequences–waste of lives, resources, and time.

    In regards to “sustainability”: we no longer have the leisure to be reconciling any differences that there might be due to our (mis)understanding of the term in real life/time, the way we, humans, have been doing since time immemorial, because we find ourselves in a state of an emergency that might not be quite yet obvious to someone in a First World country, but is very obviously an emergency, indeed, to anyone else in the rest of the world.

    We would not need any high tech tools to implement “sustainability” into our lives had we lived in small enough communities where everyone knows everyone else, and where everyone knows what everyone else’s wishes for a satisfactory existence might be, and all those wishes would be accommodated in all community actions.

    But–alas–this is not the case. Even if there were such communities, their establishing sustainable living for themselves would be meaningless had the rest of the world not be doing the same, because they would be regarded by the rest of the world that wouldn’t live sustainably as an anathema–just another resource to be exploited.

    It has to be stressed that our ideas about what the ideal state of living on this planet have to be reconciled before we set out to start realizing them for the very simple reason that this is exactly that we, humans, have been doing most of the time since the dawn of our very human existence–we have never consciously decided collectively what the next step in our cultural evolution was going to be, nor it is the case now, when it seems that the most intelligent thing would be to decide for sustainability.

    We know intellectually that the next step has to be sustainability, yet we have all very different ideas of what this “sustainability” ought to be, and this will allow the “blind” evolutionary forces to indeed make us sustainable, alas this transition to this “evolutionary step” will most likely be accompanied by untold sufferings of most kinds of life on this planet. This is Evolution 101. Unless we (all of us who to are share this planet) reconcile our differences in more intelligent ways than in reconciling them in real time/life, we might yet experience those “EMP”s you mention, and far, far worse.

    The emergency is of global proportions now. We have to use the tools that we find at hand. The obvious tool to use is the Internet. When we no longer need the tool, we can lay it aside–the best tool is always one that we don’t need!

    I personally would prefer that all our differences were resolved in meditations ( ), but this way would be greatly augmented by the use of modeling the ideal, since not all of us are skilled meditators who would know that it is not imagining their ideal solutions to world problems (as many meditators have been doing till now, but with no success so far, obviously), but rather that it is to meditate into existence a space where all of our differences would be encouraged to reconcile peacefully in–using modeling would illustrate the need of including the input even of the least significant members of our global society, even their wishes and desires in order to prevent future disharmony in the system caused by unresolved issues from the past.

    Resolving any differences that there might be among us in models by portraying real life situations in virtual life would be by far the most expedient way that would prevent wasting lives, time, and resources–we can no longer afford to continue to do so in real life/time–we are running out of everything. Even though it still is not obvious to us here, where our comforts and leisure is funded by the rest of the world.

    To see how little (read: none) time and leisure we really have I would recommend to read (selected from a lot of other sources) “The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update” by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers, ISBN: 9781931498586 ( ).

    Thank you, Hearthstone – http://www.ModelEarth.Org .

    Mr. Jan Hearthstone

    August 27, 2009 at 5:35 am

    • My goodness, you have a lot to say. 8>)
      The depth of intercourse you seek is better found in conversation but I can respond to a few points and still keep my day job.
      1. The difference between 3rd and 1st world countries is rapidly disappearing and as a concept was largely a marketing tool designed to appeal to the ego of the consumer so that some few could do just as you say. God makes no such distinction.
      2. RE: Real life/time ~ there is no other. All viruality is meaningless without an observer or participant in the real.
      3. I don’t believe that the big answers lie outside of us. Unless there is peace and harmony in every individual, or at least a good percentage of the population, there will be no community display of said character. How could it be otherwise? The community is a projection of the sum of individuals. I’ve heard it said that all disharmony proceeds from a distorted sense of self (whether too small or too large) and I see the truth of that in my own life and community. Therefore I believe that the answers to the problems of our (and all) times lie within and are not externally generated or cured. Call it what you will, God, the unified field, or whatever- there IS a common source of harmony with which we can align and leave our miseries behind.
      Consider: Do you obey the laws or just your favorites? Do you vote? Do you cross in a crosswalk? Do you work (real life/time) to help those less fortunate? How are your family relationships? These are the kinds of behaviors that you bring to the community around you, no matter how grand your dreams. You can’t skip the local/personal on the way to the global, it doesn’t work that way. It is just ego dodging the responsibility we all share.
      4. I’m wondering who you had in mind when you mentioned “the least significant members” of our society?
      5. thanks for the book recommend, I’ll check it out.
      Cheers, Bob

      Bob Barclay

      August 27, 2009 at 6:54 am

  3. Dear Bob,

    it would seem that I left my reply in the wrong place; Could you, please fix it? Or do I have to redo it? ??

    Thanks, Hearthstone –

    Mr. Jan Hearthstone

    August 27, 2009 at 5:40 am

    • Jan, You didn’t make a mistake, these comments are moderated which means I have to find time to read and approve them before they are posted. The virtual is completely bounded and contained by the real.

      Bob Barclay

      August 27, 2009 at 6:24 am

  4. One more thought Jan,
    Who could possibly implement the changes suggested by any perfect model in this present world if not we as individuals – spontaneously? That is already possible.

    Reading suggestion- A theory of everything by Ken Wilber – Shambala publications, Boston 2001.

    Bob Barclay

    August 28, 2009 at 5:48 am

    • Dear Bob,

      according to many, we, humans collectively, already live at the stage of “overshoot”, where we, collectively, use more resources than there are available. We in the advanced countries don’t really see it, because our consumption is going up, but I think that this means that elsewhere there are beginning to be felt severe shortages that are getting worse, and that we don’t know much about, because we don’t really care till we start feeling any crises ourselves directly.

      This situation is getting progressively and, to some even exponentially, worse with the time.

      Put “overshoot” and “resources” in a search engine as the search terms and see for yourself.

      Designing our common existence on Earth collectively, as suggested at http://www.ModelEarth.Org, would greatly expedite the implementation of any effective remedies meant to deal with the “overshoot” by allowing us to resolve any differences that there are among our ideas about how “things” should ideally be on this planet by seeing directly in models (this is not restricted to computer models) what ideas concerning this would be better than other; this method would be much faster and suited to the occasion than any political process, debates, learned opinions, etc. It would be different from most ways of dealing with most problems in use now in that that instead of directing energy, resources, time, etc. to solving problems almost exclusively, the same energy, resources, time, etc. would be directed towards creating of a portrayal of an ideal situation that would be collectively decided upon (by what-so-ever expedient means, including “modeling”); The problems would continue to be dealt with, but now they would not be the main objective of our efforts.

      To put it simply:
      In order to achieve an ideal, we must first know what that ideal is.
      If we want to live sustainably, we must first know what this “sustainably” is; “sustainably” means a myriad different thing to a myriad of different people, so far.
      We have to consolidate our, at times very divergent, ideas of what “sustainably” means before we can indeed live “sustainably”. We cannot live too many versions of “sustainably” at once. There can only be one version of “sustainably” at a time on one planet. This one version has to, ideally, satisfy all those who are supposed to live it.

      “Who could possibly implement the changes suggested by any perfect model in this present world if not we as individuals …” who would be creating the “perfect model” ourselves for ourselves–all of us? The “model” would be only a means of communicating our ideas about what the ideal conditions for life on Earth there should be; a means better than what there is currently available.

      Thank you, Hearthstone.

      Mr. Jan Hearthstone

      August 29, 2009 at 11:07 am

      • Best of luck with your project, Jan. Anybody who is curious about it now has the address many times over. ~Bob

        Bob Barclay

        August 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm

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