No one person, one profession, one chemist, one biologist can live in a modern city, while isolated, and consider themselves truly sustainable. Communities rely upon common goals, common space, common infrastructure, etc. All these commonalities mean that we share in one another’s fate. Progress or regress is shared in some spillover. Our environments are places where we exchange ideas, money, emotion, illness, stress, and so much more.
Our lives are interconnected. To some, that is met with alarm and distrust. Such reaction is usually followed by withdrawing as much as possible and they worry about getting out, becoming self-reliant, and even “off the grid.” But even when extreme measures have been taken, a person’s water, air, and food can become threatened from far away distances.
Let’s not fall into the trap of every-man-for-himself. I believe that the only way to confront the challenges of sustainability are to embrace our interconnectedness and work together with our own unique perspective to weave a complete vision of what our world could be. Biologists, urbanists, psychologists, surgeons, survivalists, engineers, mothers... EVERYONE has a life to live with their own needs to meet. With cooperation and embracing our shared existence, we can come together in ways that promote the Social Capital I mention in my Sustainability post.
What does something with that much synergy and cooperation look like? I am not sure myself. What I do know is that we cannot assume that we have all the answers within our own fields of knowledge. There is a complexity to this world that no one person can put together alone. The good news is that today’s technology has us more connected than ever. A simple Google search eliminates many mysteries. But even Google has its limitations. We need a mix of expert opinions with contextual applications to help resolve the errors of our society. Recognize failure when you see it. Don’t be afraid to not have the answer. Do find the strength to start (or engage with) a coalition to change it.
Build a sense of community right where you live by getting involved in community development meetings held by your local city government! Google the name of your city and you will find that there are teams of people who are employed by your tax dollars that can work to make this happen --- but they need your involvement.