We had a revolution 200 years ago. It’s called the Industrial Revolution. Today, we are in the midst of another revolution. As with the last one, it will take a few generations to gain perspective so we can see this.
Today’s revolution is the Sustainability Revolution. How do we know? We can look to the last one – the same phenomena is happening: an upwelling of ideas, organizations, frameworks, rapid transformations paired with lots of failures and all topped off with lots of disruptions. Standing in the middle of it, it looks like chaos. It’s actually a period of discovery and creation –but the fallouts hurt and often keep us from seeing the creativity but perceiving the chaos.
As with any system there is resistance to disruptions. This is as it should be for some types of disruptions. Wars, famines, pandemics, environmental degradation, terrorism, and addiction. Nobody is okay with this. And to this, we need ways to keep going.
That is key in our work today. While we keep our eyes on the prize- Sustainability however you define that but you know its not happening today- we gird our loins for the work ahead.
Dennis Meadows, a founder of The Balaton Group, resilience. Resilience is not the end goal, but we need it if we are going to make it through this stage of the Sustainability Revolutions. What does resilience mean? Having enough in store to get buy, redundancy and putting in place what needs to be there so if you get knocked down, you can get up again. This is particularly important with disruptions- whether a war or a neighborhood torn by.
Jimela Haider, another Balaton fellows who has been working in Afghanistan talked about power relations and change agents. The change agents in Afghanistan are the women willing to got to the streets, not the powers in place. The change agents are the social capital, and when they are empowered, they create the sharing, caring and trusting society that lives through disruptions like war and pandemic so that life at that time is work living, and we emerge from the destruction happy.
Alan AtKisson, one of Sustainable Seattle’s founders and the Balaton Group leader, talked about keeping our eyes on the prize, asked what Sustainable Development is (and yes, he has the answers but asks for a purpose) and the importance of being conscientious and questioning in all we do.