Recently I was asked by a friend to give a brief talk surrounding sustainability at vibrant, diverse and culturally celebratory event called "Forgotten Culture", in Cape Town, South Africa.
Reluctant to do the usual boring, consumerist driven, lecture style presentation, I decided to do something I had never done before... Beginning my talk, I briefly outlined the Solar Decathlon Africa and Team Mahalis' green building agenda. I then proceeded to describe my perspective of sustainability in an eco-philosophical poem: there are certain things in life so complex, normal phrases just don't seem capture their essence. Much of my inspiration was derived from the world class professors at Stellenbosch Universities Sustainability Institute, whilst completing my last module; Sustainable Cities, which dealt with rapid urbanisation and perpetual population growth, with constrained resources, said to be the greatest social challenge of our time.
"There’s not much to be sustained
The world is eating itself...
We need rejuvenation, restoration & rehabilitation.
A separation of social and ecological
A privatization of the public,
The exterior hollowing out the interior.
Intensive and extensive
Hyperactive media moulding cultures
Dissonance, delusion and confusion.
All folding, and sometimes collapsing into one another…
Boundaries of here and there, self and other, citizen and stranger,
More pronounced and subject to erasure.
domination and exploitation,
By an elitist population.
GDP rise but at what demise?
Stretched, strained and strangled by an expanding, thirst-quenching desert
Growing walls of isolation, separation and segregation:
the poorest are the most vulnerable.
The tides are turning, and our forests are burning.
Churning, transforming and evolving,
Moving and shifting into something new.
See, we don’t fear change, we fear being change.
Victims of over analysis paralysis.
Seeing change as macro, top down, and structural is becoming what you oppose.
Micro matters, a multiplicity matters.
Small is beautiful, because big gets stuck.
your voice matters
letting go matters
asking the right questions matters most.
Comfortable in the uncomfortable,
Learning to enjoy the heat.
When optimism nor pessimism is no longer relevant,
It depends on what kind of future you give meaning to; what options you give to yourself?
So, allow your mind to expand outwards, like a wave crashing on the shore but in all directions.
Let the winds above the deep waters of sleep and dream breath into your sails, lift your anchor and carry you across the tides of the eternal river.
Endlessly coursing, surrender your compass into an unknown archipelago. And allow your imagination to reach into the future.
Our bodies are doors of sensations so open them for the benefit of all living cells.
Surrender: bending, breaking and blending new and old relations.
Because to fall back into nothing, yet everything is to be alive.
To change your own perspective, to see all the options because wouldn’t it be dull to only see one.
Refreshing sight, spirit and soul.
Feel the world and let it feel you."