Faith communities and civic leaders need to move to sustainable living
The word "sustainable" may seem like a buzz word, but it is used continually because much of the average citizen's current way of living and consuming is not sustainable.
Humans have bumped into planetary boundaries which cannot be crossed without dire consequences for each of us and for all
The questions are: "What IS sustainable? What do we need to do differently in order to protect life, in other words, to be sustainable? The world's top scientists, scholars and leaders have been investigating this question for more than 50 years.
In 1974, many nations exhibited some answers here in Spokane when the community hosted the first and only World's Fair with an environmental theme. The United States offered a film with the BIG answer—really the only answer: Each of us needs to realize what Chief Seattle said 165 years ago: "Man Belongs to the Earth" and not the other way around.
When he spoke those words in 1854, Chief Seattle might not have been gender sensitive, but recent evidence supports the truth of his message. There is only one overarching answer to our present and pressing predicament: We need to work together closely to find small and big ways to change our interaction with the natural world.
We are guests on this planet, and we've been overstepping the house rules for some 200 years. The planet is pushing back.
Because of our lack of awareness or our carelessness, resources such as fresh air and water, rich soil, predictable and tolerable climate patterns and a self-replenishing supply of edible food are quickly disappearing. Now the lives they support, including our own, will be threatened unless we act quickly.
At the invitation of Spokane City Council, volunteer citizens have been trying to answer the questions of sustainability for Spokane. In recommending plans to update Spokane's 2009 Sustainability Action Plan, they have incorporated some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) along with their metrics and indicators. The SDGs represent the best science and practices developed at national, state and international levels. Kara Odegard at firstname.lastname@example.org seeks more people to help.
Recommendations will be passed to a more permanent body next year when a new 13-member Sustainability Action Committee will work with city officials to complete writing the action plan and oversee its implementation.
A workshop on "Building a Sustainable Spokane" at the Sept. 28 Earth and Spirit Festival at Unity Spiritual Center will also address: How will a sustainable Spokane be different than our present reality? What progress are we making in building a strong collaborative foundation contributing to greater sustainability? How might the greater community of Spokane connect around building a strong foundation for a sustainable future together, especially by incorporating the SDGs? Which organizations might provide leadership?
This is a perfect time for citizens and faith communities to join with civic leaders to move forward with a sustainability plan that incorporates the SDGs. We need to find a few organizations to help create an engine. There is a treasure of information available from the United Nations, and from cities around the nation and world that have already committed to a path of sustainability.
Sally Duffy - Associate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, September, 2019