How to build sustainable community

by Kevin Bolland

Sustainability science is actually more about community closeness and access than it is about our personal, individual decision-making processes. If we create community and foster explorative education, many of the needed solutions for global sustainability concerns may be easier to reach than before.

It isn't really our fault that we've ended up in such a complex environmental, social, and governance situation. For many years we have let money talk and science take a back seat to marketing. For hundreds of years, if not for all of human history, we have attempted to control or "outsmart" nature. And I mean, look at how amazing things have become!

Our whole world is "Miraculous" in every sense of the word.

Truth is, for all of human history, we have had to face challenges, and create opportunities to improve and grow together. We've always relied constantly on the innovations and successes of generations before. Generations that have worked hard, suffered many similar anxiety inducing and socially challenging changes. Some of these changes are hard fought victories, and others are in progress.

Some of these changes are yet to come in my opinion.

Changes related to Sustainable Community and Survivability.

See, the thing is, personally, there isn't really anything I can do to "earn" what I already have access to. At least, in terms of most generalities.

Things like, the internet if its available in your neighborhood, transportation and fuel, established government structure, Penicillin, etc.

These things are essential in the world today, but still depend very much on your location.

What good is it to be a billionaire if you have no cell service and no access to goods and services? If you grow up in poverty, often times, the only way out is to physically move locations.

I think that societies have taken access to some things very much for granted by assuming that the solution has been achieved, and we can simply just move on to the next problem. But in my experience, there is often a ton of work that needs to happen just to set up for the real job. Just because we figured out "how to make ________" doesn't mean that everyone suddenly knows about it, has access, or even wants it.

Concept Art by: Kevin Bolland x NightCafe AI, Actuallyitsafish

It's like in remodeling, and removing a wall. Sometimes, the first constructive step is to build another wall or two to support the roof while you remove the first one. This prevents the whole house from falling down.

Technically, removing one load bearing wall isn't about just one wall. It's about building two more walls and removing three. I feel this is how sustainability may need to be achieved as well.

When access to everything and expectations about its' quality become the same, we set ourselves up for conflict or disappointment when that access eventually becomes limited. I always did laugh at "lifetime guarantees" thing.

But when sustainable community is part of the solution, reliance on these externalities becomes less important and less critical.

For instance, even if your wrench with a "lifetime guarantee" breaks, you could simply borrow one from a neighbor and build community at the same time instead of just getting another new one. This saves in so many ways. It helps the community get closer together. Saves on transportation costs for something small. And what's more. The wrench still does the same job regardless of the brand name or place you got it from.

God only knows that most work benches don't need more wrenches.

There are many places around the world that are barely able to make ends meet, while many other places live lavishly and turn a blind eye to the inequality it creates. Even though there are enough tools of service available, they're concentrated in the wrong places.

Even our assumptions about controlling nature are whimsical. Flooding and natural disasters have always and will always ravage places that are susceptible to them. Trying to laugh in the face of mother nature by building a home effectively ON the beach doesn't make you immune to or smarter than mother nature.

The only way to ensure that sustainability becomes the norm in the future, is to invest in, and develop more connected communities with an awareness of the environment. I believe it was how humans were designed, and I believe that it's how we will succeed. Shared resources in a smaller community lead to changes that will be more inclusive of all humankind.

I didn't work for, suffer for, or otherwise do anything to deserve to be alive during this time in history, but in my opinion, we live in an era with the greatest access AND the greatest opportunity for the greatest change humanity has ever seen. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

-Kevin Bolland

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