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A Fourth R for Sustainability

July 13, 2011Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on A Fourth R for Sustainability

Lots of people know the “three Rs” of sustainability:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

Today’s blog post from Urban Times calls for a fourth:  Rethink.

Indeed, real, “sustainable” sustainability that goes beyond the “buzz word” will require us to rethink almost every aspect of our daily lives, at least in rich countries like the United States:  how do we use water?  get ourselves around?  make intelligent purchases?

I was particularly taken with a quotation from a participant at a recent sustainability roundtable:  ”Culture will trump technology, always.”

And how do we change cultures?  Lots of you will say “education,” which is a start, but “education pursued through cultural media that inform us much more broadly than the hours we formally commit to “education.”  Movies, art, books (or whatever media people use to express themselves these days!).  The poet Gary Snyder has said that the job of poets is to move the world a millionth of an inch, to change the dominant narratives and symbols by which we make sense of the world and our place in it so that “ordinary” people wouldn’t think of doing things that counter our understandings of what it means to be a good, decent, responsible person.

Yes indeed.


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