Happy Fall Daily Actors,
Yes, it’s true – the abundance of fall is upon us. As is the fourth installment of our series on Reverence, Ripples, Relationships and Resilience.
So what’s up with all this talk of resilience? In the words of Davis Orr, “Sustainability, in short, must be the domestic and strategic imperative for the twenty-first century. Its chief characteristic is resilience which means the capacity of the system to absorb disturbance; to undergo change and still retain essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks. In practical terms, resilience is a design strategy that aims to reduce vulnerabilities.”
If resilience is a chief characteristic of sustainability, and sustainability is the imperative of our time, we need to consider revisiting what is it we are trying to sustain, and whether sustainability is the real goal. Do you want your marriage to be merely sustainable? How about your job and your relationships with family and community? That’s not very zesty or nourishing now is it?
There also seems to be a fair bit of confusion about the terms sustainability and resilience. Many say resilience is the new sustainability and that we are way past the need for sustainability. I’ve been told that the term is ‘out-of-date’ since we did our first Sustainability Tour 14 years ago, when there were virtually no other references for such a thing, even in the land of Google. The original definition of sustainability was about meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to do the same. As I recently heard said by a mediator (who possessed greats gads of resilience) during a very long, intense meeting, “Let go of all hopes of a better past.” We are living in an impaired present, on a path to a seriously imperiled future. We must get real about this, while also not losing hope.
We are here and it is now and we need to not just sustain but to transform every aspect of how we live in, and with this beauteous world. And this starts with unleashing the fully reverent and resilient spirit at the heart of human genius. As author David Whyte writes “Genius in Latin meant the spirit of place…being unutterably yourself in conversation with the world.” Well the conversation the world is having with us right now is saying, “Wake the hell up.” It is time to rise and shine and step to the times, to reconnect to the long lineage of survivors who got us here and with the proven ability of the indomitable human spirit to turn the impossible into the expected.
Being a fan of reduce, reuse, recycle, I don’t think we need to compost or move past the term sustainability, we just need to refresh our definition. Bringing an operational description to sustainability, author Fritjof Capra writes that sustainability is made up of two things, eco-literacy and eco-design. It’s coming to understand nature’s operating instructions and then applying this wisdom to regenerate our selves, and our homes, gardens, neighborhoods and ecosystems.
While we are at it, we might as well refresh our definition of resilience. From the grassroots, to national dialogue in the health sector, resilience has become more than just springing back from adversity and the next disaster or a strategy to reduce vulnerabilities. Entering an era of complex crises ranging from drought and resource depletion to climate change, extreme weather and systemic inequity, we don’t want to return to the unconscious, eco-illiterate ways of doing and being that got us here. We need to spring forward into a more healthy, just, resilient and beauteous future. As William Gibson wrote, “The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.”
Want a glimpse of that better future, from even just the last couple of weeks? Two weekends ago was the first combined North American Permaculture Convergence and Regional Building Resilient Communities Convergence where amongst other activities; Daily Acts hosted a panel with elected officials Senator Mike McGuire and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, as well as Dr. Ellen Bauer and Oscar Chavez, representing senior leadership from Sonoma’s Health and Human Services Departments. In this same span of time, with some of the same players, a team from Sonoma County including Daily Acts was selected as one of three counties to take part in the California Leadership Academy for the Public Health. Just this past weekend our team and volunteers installed a greywater system in Windsor, hosted our inaugural Soil to Supper Dinner, AND partnered with the St. Vincent High School Art Angels and Mentor Me to paint a beautiful mural in our neighborhood food forest. Plus, this great article on our work to Food Forest the world was published in Made Local. Our focus is on creating more equitable and resilient communities, and this is just some of our little slice of the world-changing pie, POWERED by YOU amazing Daily Actors.
Next month is Bioneers, a mind-blowingly, inspiring gathering of leaders rocking transformative change in every nook, cranny and watershed across the land. There’s a whole Permaculture track with several friends and partners, not to mention thousands of inspired allies. As Kenny and Nina said in a recent blog,
“In this time of epic transformation, it is our conviction that the years between now and the end of 2020 will be decisive. It is almost certainly the last window to tip global human civilization into a fundamental shift focused on reversing climate disruption, restoring natural systems and addressing global inequality and injustice… Our challenge in these coming years is to join together to turn moments into movements – and to turn movements into systemic and structural change. What we are witnessing today is a truly unprecedented convergence of this movement of movements to make common cause to restore nature and our human communities.”
Can you feel the ripeness of this moment or what? Bringing it back home, a cornerstone of the more healthy, just, resilient world being born are people like you who are modeling sustainable living solutions, encouraging and helping neighbors and being engaged advocates in everything from purchases made, to positively influencing the dialogue and decisions in our schools, churches and local government.
So I ask you, got resilience? Got skills? Got inspiration, beauty and art, reverence in your heart and power in your ripples? How about connection and celebration in your relations? Even if you do, come get some more!
Join our Permaculture Design Course or any number of upcoming activities. Join us at Bioneers and absolutely, without a doubt, be at Ripple the World to experience the ripples of reverence and relations at the heart of resilient lives and communities.