Sustainability

This last week has brought me these three quotes on presence and sustainability:

Do not internalize the industrial model. You are not one of the myriad of interchangeable pieces, but a unique human being, and if you’ve got something to say, say it, and think well of yourself while you’re learning to say it better. —David Mamet

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. —attrib. Greek proverb

You can exercise control over your actions alone,
never on the outcome of your actions.
Do not be anxious about the outcome of your actions.
Do not develop a habit of inaction either. —Ram K. Pipariya

The most common conversation around sustainability is the one that focuses on the physical environment and our impact on it. But I believe there is more to social design than managing the natural ecology. We can and until relatively recently in our history did build societies and civilizations that operated in harmony with the rest of nature.

Yet so many of those civilizations have risen and fallen and failed.

Designing for the future and living sustainably means thinking, choosing, and building now so that the generations who follow us inherit systems that they can take with them into their future. We can’t control what they might do with what we leave behind, but our offering to them is to build ideas and structures that can stand and be steady when it’s their turn to create.

The most maddening aspect of “eternity being set in the human heart” is that we’re drawn to immortality but refuse to plan for it. Can we shift this pattern?

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