The Sustainability Dance

The Sustainability Dance

Home Forums MAHB Members Forum The Sustainability Dance

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #6047

      Please use this space to discuss  Graham H. Pyke’s MAHB Blog post The Sustainability Dance.  Click on the links below to read more.

      The Sustainability Dance

    • #6163

      On behalf of John Sykes: 

      I lead a statewide interfaith group that is dedicated to addressing the causes and effects of climate change. Today, we have 19, and soon to be 21, congregations of different faith traditions. Our local reach is over 10,000 members, and for our national group, the membership reaches the millions through around 15,000 congregations.

      Spreading the word about the criticality of sustainability is central to our mission, with focus starting in our houses of worship, extending to our parishioners, and then to our communities. Last Sunday, which was the first of 7 weeks, celebrating the Season of Creation, I preached about sustainability for healing Creation for both Sunday Services, and was well received.

      This message is, of course, for more than people of faith – for all people. However, our group, and many others like it, offer an excellent vehicle for getting the message out. Sometimes, words from the pulpit can make a difference.

      In our work in the community, we partner with other non profits, with business and with different levels of government to encourage people to understand how sustainable practice can help them today, as well as make a difference for our children, from whom we have borrowed this planet. I strongly suggest that The Sustainability Dance is one that we must all dance together, and that faith-based groups, can be leaders without proselytizing their own dogma.

      As the Traditional People have taught us from the beginning, we are all part of Creation, whether we believe it started with the Sky Woman landing on a Turtles back, from the word of God, or by the forces of nature. Let us invite many to join in this dance, for which generation to come will rejoice.

      -John Sykes

    • #6165

      On behalf of Ronnie Hawkins:

      Professor Pyke–

      I appreciate your concern for us humans achieving sustainability, but I would like to inquire as to how you envision “sustainability,” since I do not see how the way most of us are living now, whatever the region of the globe we inhabit, could be considered “sustainable,” let alone how we could achieve such a state when our population increases to 8, 9, or 10 billion, and when we simultaneously try to increase the “consumption” of all (or even a part of) the existing human individuals for the greater glory of the global economic game. Sustainability, as I see it, will be impossible without a considerable alteration in our present trajectory.

      I was agreeing in theory to much of what you say, however, until I came across the following passage, the general gist of which seemed to be repeated several times in subsequent paragraphs:

      “Academic institutions and research collectives will only be able to “peddle” the sustainability message if this fuels their bottom line, which may be as basic as continued financial viability. Only if attempts to communicate sustainability messages support their positions in academia, will researchers and other academics continue to do this. Academics are people, with their own needs and wants; institutions and collectives have similar goals.”

      If academia must perpetually bow down to a financial “bottom line,” that in itself would seem to deprive all university-affiliated persons of the intellectual agency to question the current configuration of our social reality. But–especially since this forum is peopled by, I hope, a substantial number of scientists and philosophers–I would like to humbly suggest that we consider deeply the ontology of our situation–what’s really real here? The “realities” of economics are social constructions, invented by us smart primates who happen to be very good at playing with symbols. But we seem to have forgotten that they are our own creations, and are granting them a kind of ontological priority, such that their “dictates” are “causing” us to act in ways that are clearly not in the interests of sustaining biospherical life within the parameters that held throughout the Holocene.

      Can we please start “seeing” the current global financial regime, with all of its economic consequences for lower levels, including that of the university, as a product of social construction, NOT as something with an independent existence like the realities that scientists study, and therefore something we humans can CHANGE, should we decide, together, to do so–and something that we MUST change if we truly want to get back on a path to sustainability?

      Yes, academics are people, and perhaps that means they think they must conform in their personal lives to all the given social norms, not “making waves” by addressing taboo topics, even if what they “know” professionally–or simply as a matter of common sense–includes knowing that we cannot continue to go on this way. But if academics don’t speak the truth about what they know–and I don’t see how one can deny that OUR TRAJECTORY NEEDS TO CHANGE is a truth–who is going to do it? Isn’t that the job of academia? Sometime way back there, the tenure system was supposed to guarantee that people with more education, and therefore (it was hoped) more insight, dare we even say more “wisdom,” would be given the freedom to tell the rest of society what they understood to be the truth, for the good of all. What happened to that? How many now have the courage? To date, from personal experience, I’d say not very many. But I think that, too, can change, once the waking-up process gets underway. Who wants to step up to the plate?


      -Ronnie Hawkins

    • #6219

      On behalf of Tamra Engelhorn Raven:

      Sustainable development is local. Humans are selfish. Buffering climate change can only be done locally. See #10km3x2 imagine #opendata #global #citizenscience #K12 #educategirls.
      See GEOCODED SPATIAL TRANSPARENT METRIC global metric for the Anthropocene
      Map fires, carbon, water, EID, #VAW ( )
      NEW LOCAL METRC 10km3x2
      1/2:SEVEN=3.5billion<25years old think #YOUTH

      -Tamra Engelhorn Raven

    • #6235

      On behalf of Joseph Carson:

      We humans are arguably the most successful species in the 4 billion year history of planet earth – but we are becoming victims of our own success and need to “change our spots” individually and collectively. Is that possible?

      We need to be *much* more willing to “suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake” where one’s professional standing and economic security are what is put “in play” by “boat rocking” about sustainability issues related to how one makes a $. We need to openly state this too. We cannot paper it over and try to create financial inducements – we need to accept suffering in our most valued asset – our standing in our profsesions – is a necessary part of “dance.”

      I read your argument and cringe – how are we to fundamentally change by not changing?

      -Joseph Carson

    • #6429

      On behalf of Stella Joy:

      Through supporting and safeguarding the common natural environments, which freshwater is dependent upon, its long-term continuum and the possibility of an adequate quantity of freshwater for all is ensured. This would secure clean drinking water and sanitation as a commons resource for both present and future

      When stakeholders collectively manage and steward the resources they need for their survival in an open inclusive manner for the benefit of all, such resources tend to be well cared for. This is essential for the full enjoyment of life and the realization of all human rights. It forms the common foundation for environmental stability, international security and the realization of all Sustainable Development Goals and post MDG’s in the Post 2015 agenda.

      Water security needs to be included in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG process must incorporate a goal and related targets for achieving water security, as this will address multiple priority development areas under consideration: conflict and fragility; environmental sustainability; growth and employment; health, hunger, food and nutrition; inequities; energy; and of course, water. It is safe to state that investment in water security is a long-term pay-off for human development and economic growth, with immediate visible short-term gains.
      (U.N Analytical Brief 22/3/13)

      Although the concept of universal access to clean water and sanitation is a worthwhile ideal and aim, it is impossible to realize it, if the very freshwater cycle itself is compromised and unable to fulfill its natural function. Recognizing that the restoration and conservation of all water sourcing ecosystems, which the global freshwater cycle is dependent upon, is central to all national and international security, it becomes imperative that actions, which support these ecosystems, are taken imminently. These include mountains (the water towers of the world), mixed mountain forests, rain forests and wetlands. In doing so long-term Sustainable Development Goals and Post Millennium Development Goals, which honor all Human Rights can be potentially fulfilled and the worthy endeavors of so many can be honored.

      “Water, economic and environmental security are inherently interconnected. Human life is intimately linked to, and utterly dependent on, the functions and services provided by freshwater ecosystems. Safe, reliable water supplies, flood protection, commercial and subsistence fisheries, cultural and spiritual values – the very foundations of economic development and human well-being – all depend on maintaining the integrity of the planet’s aquatic ecosystems.”
      (U.N Water Security August 2012)

      Securing the integrity of the global freshwater cycle is imperative for the true realization of long-term Sustainable Development.

      -Stella Joy

    • #6501

      I’ve just joined this Forum, but may I be so bold as to make a constructive suggestion? This is a frustrated and heartfelt plea for MAHB to become a signatory to this document : I feel I must stress that everything in Section 1 contains only irrefutable facts. The conclusion is inescapable, and the recommendations are perfectly logical and reasonable in the light of the foregoing. The only thing causing all our environmental woes on this planet is too many of us humans, and of those far too many are consuming far too much. More of us can only make matters  worse. If only every organisation behind running environmental forums,  every environmentally concerned think tank,  every environmentally concerned NGO and every “green” political party in the world, and maybe even some “green” inclined businesses  were to sign up in support  of a  Joint Position Statement on Population and the Environment,  such as this  – Perhaps it would then be seen, by the powers that be that run this world and by many more members of the public,  that we are “all singing from the same hymn sheet” – and loudly, in unison, and  in a powerful, clear, concise and unequivocal fashion? Then – we might actually really start to get  things done about the state of our planet; instead of just chiefly talking amongst ourselves and banging on our own particular drums about what needs to be done! If MAHB cannot  sign up to this,  please tell me why not ? What is wrong with it? And, If MAHB  can come up with a better “Joint Position Statement on the Environment”,  an “Accord” that every purportedly environmentally concerned or “green” body can be persuaded sign up to – please can it do so ASAP? In my view, an International Accord such as this is sorely needed. I do hope I can persuade MAHB to agree.

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.