On Sustainability

Jan 1 2001 • Posted in Uncategorized

The word “sustainability” has become fashionable in our world. It is a necessary goal if our society is to continue, but what does it mean? Is sustainability a technological problem, a social problem, a spiritual problem, or is it a combination of all of them and more? How do you make a whole out of many complicated needs?

Underground City drawing by James HubbellThe best examples of sustainability in nature and past cultures include a profound sensitivity to surroundings both large and small, and the elegant, beautiful, relationships between a particular world and the entire ecological system.

The context, in which sustainability must exist, is an infinite, compassion for the world we live in, and a balance of the many parts. Beauty can be arbiter of the myriad decisions needed to build whole, ecological, truly sustainable solutions, whether it is a building, a sewage system or an agricultural plan.

We have lived in a century that has made technology and what we thought were its benefits, a god. Technology devoid of a sense of the whole is an attempt to dominate life and nature. Can we build a sustainable world and leave out the mystery of that world?

When we treat things, schools, our homes, ourselves as if they have the right to be beautiful, we give them a new and vital energy. It makes life special and celebrates the magic of our world.

“The shape of a leaf serves, expresses the unique function of this particular leaf. Does the shape of a building, the sound of a symphony serve and express the unique spiritual needs of the composer and his age?”


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