16 June 2009

Reinventing Ourselves, and Reinventing the World

Posted by Admin under: Forum .

If we are on an unsustainable course – which it is increasingly clear we are – we obviously need to change direction. But we are on our present course because of who we are: we got ourselves here, and we are going to need to change ourselves profoundly in order to find ourselves going in a different direction, as a species.

There are only two responses we can have to our present dilemma: either we stand by and watch as our ecological systems disintegrate, or we can take concerted action. This is pretty much what it boils down to.

At the same time, there is no single, comprehensive plan or program that can allow us to achieve sustainability. What we need is for humanity to fundamentally change direction – to see itself as driving toward a different goal than that of merely material wealth, and to look at the world and our role in it from a more directly responsible perspective. We may not like it, but we are now, collectively, in charge of the air, the water, and the land. We need, for the first time, to manage the climate. And we need, above all, to manage ourselves.

Let’s be clear. Nature will take care of itself. It has suffered many setbacks, and always come back. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of species. What is at stake is not “saving the planet.” It’s saving us. It’s about the survival of humanity, with all of its foibles, its nobility and its degradation, its capacity for kindness and for cruelty beyond measure, and its limitless and unfinished potential. We’re not even talking about “life.” It’s just the life of those other species on which we happen to depend.

It is unlikely that even a nuclear holocaust could destroy all of life; and life appears, in any case, to be an intrinsic property of the universe. Our existence is in many ways remarkably improbable; but it is not some kind of accident. It is said that if the universe were, at the time of the Big Bang, one degree hotter, it would expand too fast to coalesce into stars and planets; and if it were one degree colder, it would collapse in on itself. But this improbable circumstance notwithstanding, it seems that balanced as we are, life is a natural outgrowth of the universe’s evolution, not something parachuted in from the outside – because in reality there is no outside.

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Past Events

Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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Leadership Quotes

"Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."
(Thomas A. Edison—thanks to Regan Caton)

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” (G.B. Shaw)

"There is the true joy of life: to be used by a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; to be thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap; to be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that life will not devote itself to making you happy." (G.B. Shaw)

"Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed." (Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya - thanks to Christine Comaford, Rules for Renegades)