Nov 13, 2009

"There is no Sustainability without Social Justice and there is no Social Justice without Sustainability"

As part of its Seattle Fast Future program area, Sustainable Seattle hosted a meeting to address a statement overheard recently at a meeting on sustainability "There is no Sustainability without Social Justice and there is no Sustainability without Social Justice."

This is part of an ongoing effort to ask and find solutions for the hard questions in sustainability. The meeting was attended by Leah, Viki, Burr and Laura. Meeting notes are here, and anyone interested in attending the next meeting is invited to email us at

Meeting notes with Viki Sonntag, Leah Werner, Burr Stewart and Laura Musikanski

How do we bring about change? How do we change the conditional responses that lead to social injustice? How do we achieve a way to bring about Cultural Justice ? Are we facilitating seekers or planners?

One Issue: social justice is a blind spot of many, with most preferring the comfort of control rather than the discomfort of structured violence i.e. racism, prejudice, bigotry…

Imagine a grid with (Dis)agreement on the Y axis, Uncertainty on the X axis. Where there is agreement and certainty, things are simple where there is medium amounts of disagreement and uncertainty, things are complex. Further out, things are complex. Where there is a large degree of uncertainty and disagreement, there is chaos. To bring about change in the area of complex and chaos, one needs leadership.
• Bring everyone in
• Model the way
• Create a shared vision
• Do your homework
• Encourage the heart
SOLID-LIQUID-GAS: Life occurs at the edge, in chaos.

Burr’s dream:
Less structure, more connection, can happen through the internet, with the globalization of self and of work.
• Standardized resume,
• Standardized project description
• Money origins labeled,
• Indicators with data readily available.

People are taking action, but essentially blind. We need to build capacity, allow people to see the structure, organize self in a way that

Action items:
• Building capacity to share information so a to facilitate self organizing – local experimentation creates need to share
o Burr is looking to create visuals to share with the community to facilitate understanding
• Bring light to Blindspot
o S2 is working with Tiachang to put in place Race- the power of illusion based training open to all in the Vance building.

• Bring each other to each others table – relationship building across boundaries.
o S2 will bring in social justice coordinator(s) to help build relationships and foster bringing each other to the each others table.
o Leah will help EcoPraxis to more deeply network.
• EcoPraxis will bring in resources to ensure social justice on B-Sustainable’s steering committee
• S2 plans to convene PALS. We will look to create PALS for Funders and NGOs on the issue and help bring about shared funding
• We all have a commitment to dialogue we started to change the way the world is.
• Bring global consciousness into what we are doing:
o S2 will make a blog entry about this meeting to be in real time globally in real time

Items to be addressed:
• Changing the images that brainwash us and create the blindspots

The Alphabet and the Goddess
White Man’s Burden

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