SNS Press: Seeking New Solutions

February, 2012
Vol. 11, Number 2


Home Page About SNS Press Author Richard Sidy Contact Us Buy Publications


A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.

Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds





This Month's Article

Tired of “Sustainability?”

The word ‘sustainability’ is tired and deserves to be retired from much of our vocabulary. It has about four hundred different definitions and is now applied to everything, so it is losing its punch as an important concept that speaks to essential life-style choices that will guarantee our future. Like the word ‘natural’ or ‘green’ it has become ubiquitous and co-opted by environmental ‘branding’ so as to become virtually meaningless in so many contexts.

The simplest definition of ‘sustainable’ to me is to give and take in ways that do not damage, exploit or deplete. It is a kind of balance that promotes ‘justice’ in relationships between people and with nature. Nevertheless, injustice can be sustained through domination or repression, like the regimes of dictators or the unchecked activities of consuming corporations – not forever, perhaps – but long enough to cause damage to life and to well-being, while putting future prospects at risk or out of reach.

What really makes life ‘sustainable’ is a positive attitude, even in the bleakest of times. It is optimism that causes people to not give up on creating a just life. Some of those who have that attitude use the terms ‘resilient’ or ‘transitional’ to characterize practices in communities that are progressing towards a lifestyle and economy that are vibrant and responsible. While ‘sustainable’ is a term that seems static and can be used to maintain the status quo, those other terms contain a life-energy that propels toward change and new approaches that promote vigor and adaptation to new needs and unpredictable realities. For this positive attitude, I prefer the term ‘thriving’ communities.

Built in the concept of ‘thriving’ is the unrepressed and purposeful force of nature - that same force that causes anything to multiply, grow and mature. As a psychological, social and economic attitude it is the manifestation of abundance instead of scarcity; optimism instead of pessimism; dynamism instead of complacency; progress instead of stagnation; stewardship instead of exploitation.These are the values ever-present in success, ever-present in creative endeavors, ever-present in healthy living organisms. When groups of people come together and demonstrate these values through their collaborative relationships, the result is a thriving, resilient community that is alive.

The visionaries of a better future are builders, not just sustainers. Theirs is a spirit undaunted by even the meanest challenge. Even when their efforts meet obstacles, and going forward seems excruciatingly slow and fraught with confrontation, there is still a joy and determination in their hearts. They are spiritually thriving, because their life force is directed towards the purposeful goal of co-creating a better, thriving world. The term ‘sustainable’ doesn’t begin to describe the creative, balanced and future-oriented culture that is being born and given life through their activities.

© 2012 Richard V. Sidy

Related Articles on SNS Press:

Looking to the Third World in a Time of Crisis

Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival

Sustainable Development is Nature's Way

Fast Food is Really Slow Food

The Art of Living

Decentralizing Food and Energy

Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future

The effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche



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Archives Column Menu
archives archives archives
Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity
Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"
Archives 2007:
Vol. 6, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
State of Fear
Criminal Justice
Culture Shock
Personal Ecology
Exploring the Mind - Parts 1 and 2
How Much Pain Can We Stand?
Archives 2008:
Vol. 7, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Beyond Ideology
The Imaginary Economy
Tribalism and the 2008 Election
Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice
Have We Been Willing Slaves?
Are We Ready for the Future?
Archives 2009:
Vol. 8, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Good New Days
The Time is Right
The New Anarchy
The Art of Living
Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?
From Cowboys to Cowed
Who are the Real Game Changers?
Archives 2010:
Vol. 9, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Music of Place
Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
The Sense of Place
Why do People Serve?
Ecological Literacy
Organization or Organism?
Are we afraid of our Better Angels?
Choosing our Battles

Meeting the Need
Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
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