Monday, November 14, 2005

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children

This contribution is dedicated to the “Inka boy”

In order to march towards sustainability and a better balance with our own environment we must, first of all, define what does this mean and who is involved on the endeavour. How and why is this beneficial and who is benefiting?

For many of us, sustainable development is self-evident as something good, and therefore we are already motivated to work for it. However, this is not always the case and we tend to focus on imitating strategies that we saw working somewhere else, rather than working on our particularities and on an authentic manner.

This question is more important because it is the only way to articulate different people/organisations and the environment around the same project. So, why is sustainability important for us and how can we achieve it? In which degree can we be a sustainable community? How are we defining sustainability?

When we carry our daily routines we normally do not see all that they involve, nor all the entities that they call into action. For instance, when I turn on my computer to write these lines I am not aware, for example, of where the power to run my computer comes from – does it come from a sustainable source or from a nuclear power station? I am not aware if there was child labour involved on the making of my computer, nor on the making of the turbine on the nuclear power station that provides the power to run my computer. In short, we can never know all the references and entities that are aligned to make our daily routines possible as they are. Is there any relationship between the petrol used on the power station, to produce the power to run my computer and the last person killed in the middle-east? How my daily routine does relates to all this things? I guess that we will never now this for sure.

So, what is our sustainability about? Is it about energetic independence? Is it about easing the effect of our daily life on the other living beings on our environment? Do we want that our life style affect the Mapocho river? Or are we more concern with the possibility that other people’s life style affect our own quality of life? Or are we so altruistic that we only care about the future generations to come?

According to a Native American proverb: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Therefore, I thank all the Inka boys from the past, for allowing the earth that they borrowed from us to be ready for us to enjoy it now.

When we regard our relationship with our environment from this perspective we start caring about the consequences of our daily life. Right? Why should we import and burn oil? Why should we leave to nature the task of taking care of our garbage? Alone we are unable to live on a sustainable manner, but on a collaborative manner we can do a lot. It is up to us to decide the world we want to live on.

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