Friday September 22nd 2017

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Why this blog?

With this blog I will attempt to contribute, in my own little way, towards promoting a sustainable society in the US. In this space I will at times offer my own thoughts on how we can create a society that can meet our current needs without sacrificing the quality of life for future generations and other life forms. Other times I will simply share selected insights, data, or analysis from authors, columnists, or from just about anyone I can find with good ideas on all things sustainable.

Why is this even necessary?
The reality is that humanity is hurtling toward disaster as the scale of human society begins to overwhelm the planet’s life support systems. We have almost 7 billion people on the planet who increasingly are living like Americans. More and more societies are following in America’s developmental footpath which is based on exponential growth and consumerism. Exponential growth of this kind on a finite planet is simply not possible. I am motivated to try and get this information out there since these megatrends, the issues that will impact our lives, and certainly the lives of this generation’s children and grandchildren simply are not talked about in the mainstream media, are rarely broached by teachers, nor are they highlighted by our elected officials.

This blog is not all about gloom and doom. It is rather about becoming aware of the choices we make every day and their consequences. Consequences that most of us have managed to ignore until recently. It is about realizing that we are on a certain path and the consequences of that path. It is about realizing that there is in fact an alternative path.

We can create a future that many of us only currently dare consider in our wildest dreams. Imagine a society where everyone has access to a good education and health care. Imagine a society where everyone works at a job that pays a livable wage. Imagine a place where each of us has the essentials for a comfortable life while having ample time to spend with family and friends and time to spend in our community. Imagine a place where we have the time to focus on developing our minds, our spirituality, or our emotional well being. Imagine a place where people are valued for who they are, for what they contribute to building our community rather than for what they have. Imagine a place where nature and other life forms flourish and we have the time and space to be part of nature.

Sound ludicrous? It is – at least given the world we have now, the world that we created. But we can create a far different world. And in fact, we have no choice but to profoundly change our world if we want to survive as a species. In this blog I will attempt to offer the facts, sometimes very harsh facts, about the damage we are doing to ourselves, our society, and to our planet. Other times I will provide examples of the awe inspiring efforts and successes of sustainability pioneers all around the world as they offer real world examples of another, better way.

How did I get interested in this topic?

At an early age I was struck by the fact that it seemed that those of us living in the United States had won some “cosmic lottery.” We got to live incredibly well while much of the world didn’t. After college I joined the Peace Corps (Gabon, 88-90) to find out for myself how most of the world lived to try and understand it all a bit better. From this experience I got the “international bug” and lived overseas for the next 17 working in international relief and development in Africa. Many of the models for development we used were based on the United States and Western Europe, and intuitively I sensed that these societies were not sustainable. This nagging sense of doubt is what led me to strike out on a life-long journey of reading and researching issues around environmental science, energy science, climate science, economics, physics, consumerism, and other topics on sustainability. While I loved living overseas, and working to support vulnerable communities in their efforts to develop, I knew that I was only working on a subset of the larger problem. The models were flawed. So, in 2007 I returned to the US to try and make my contribution at moving the US toward becoming a truly sustainable society. This blog is part of that effort.

I offer this blog with the utmost humility. Virtually everything I know about sustainability is based on the readings from those with minds far superior to mine.

Who is this blog for?
This blog is not just for tree huggers. If you live on planet earth, these are issues that you will want to know about. This blog is not about saving polar bears, though that would be nice. This is about saving ourselves. If you are worried about the quality of life the world will be able to offer your children or grandchildren then stay tuned. Care about your health? Interested in living a life that is not so chaotic and stress filled? Have a nagging sense there could or should be much more to life?

Give it a read. Try it for awhile. See if it resonates. If yes, embrace it, share it widely and do something about it. If not, well, send me your comments and let me know why. I love a healthy debate.

2 Comments for “Why this blog?”

  • Fatou says:

    I very much welcome your initiative Michael. After many years spent working in international development on health in Africa, I shared your concern that our actions were not leading to the expected result. My work and life challenged my knowledge on health and on peace and I, like you, stopped the work I was doing to continue my quest through other ways. I am becoming more and more aware of the various fragmentations in our inner and outer world and I hope that by watching them acutely and attentively I will get a better sense of why the world is in the state it is today. Thank you for sharing your insight – I will gladly share mine with you all. Warm regards from Senegal.

  • MD - Sustainable Thoughts says:

    Hi Fatou, Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I look forward to hearing your feedback and insights.

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