J500 Media and the Environment

What sustains you? by margaretec

Sustainability, what is it?  One word with countless definitions.  Hard to grasp.  Good grief!  Today I am informed as a result of two interactions.

Sustainability Model

Sustainability Model

Interaction one –

Chris Doran opened my eyes today.  When thinking about defining sustainability, think about what sustains you.  Your answers will go beyond air, food, water, shelter.  You will include the more complex and rich aspects of living; the things that matter to you.

University Office of Sustainability at UNH asserts that culture is key to sustainability and includes it as one of four key components in their learning model.  What do you think?

Interaction two –

A friend with a lengthy history of service work defines sustainability as follows:  “My inspiration for thinking about how I live on earth has come from my travels and service experiences in Guatemala, India and Nepal. People are forced to live without basic necessities like adequate and clean drinking water and clean air.  It is hard to describe the misery of trying to breathe in their major cities.  Having seen the impact of our presence on the environment in this way, I am acutely aware of my own use of resources.  I make choices that consider my contribution to the total.  For me, the option to be less wasteful is easy. I consider it sinful if I am not a careful and caring steward of the earth.  I think about the future as embodied in the beautiful children that are trying to grow and thrive in this environment and the animals that cannot complain.”

I agree with my friend.  I agree with UOS of UNH.

Today was a good day; my curiosity was appeased.

What sustains me?  Air, water, food, shelter, curiosity, compassion, love, laughter and learning.  What sustains you?



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi, Peg. After listening to Chris Doran’s lecture of Wednesday, I asked myself the same question about what sustains me. I came to the conclusion that it is mostly money. For starters, air and sunshine are free, but food and shelter are not. Is money sustainable? It seems like the government can always print more, but the gold it is supposed to represent is not. Further, if I loose my job, I loose my sustainability. So, for me, sustainability means going to school to improve my chances of having a steady income so I can afford the resources I need. Anyway, thanks for the post, because I think it is a great question to ask oneself.

Comment by IanN

Hey Ian, I appreciate your point and I am a fan of your honesty.

You are right. Having gainful employment affords me the opportunity to define sustainability as meaningful existence. I also have the luxury of doing work that is meaningful to me and valuable to the people my firm serves. I’m fortunate that way.

I’ve not always been so fortunate and have had to really consider the possibility of losing my income. At that point, I knew that having a strong network of relationships, having solid career growth and having a responsible attitude would help me.

Lastly, I can tell you that in my decades and decades on this earth, there is no amount of money that has cured my sister’s multiple sclerosis. So, while I know you are right about the security money can provide, I am constantly aware of the things money cannot buy like health, time and rich relationships.

Thanks for sharing.


Comment by margaretec

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