New Horizons: Sustainability in Action
I began this column is to share information on the environment and encourage sustainable action. It has been a struggle to be positive lately, so I had to take a break. 2019 was the year the Amazon, Arctic, Africa, and Australia burned. We just had the hottest decade on record and it is just forecasted to get hotter with more devastation and destruction to private and public property and all life on earth. People are suffering while the stock market increases.
Yet, it is a new decade with new opportunities and hope abounds. Individually, do our actions make that much of a difference? It is easy to get discouraged comparing small actions with the overall national and global crises we face. But collectively, together, we can and do change the world.
I was going to write this article about women needing to support women. It seems as though it is difficult for many of us to support each other, and this may be because each of us have had to fight for every inch we have gotten, or maybe insecurities are too easily taken out on others. However, this is not beneficial to other women or to society in general. How does it feel when someone believes in you, supports you, and encourages you? What would happen if we supported each other instead of finding faults or assuming the worst in each other? Women are strong, considerate, thoughtful, passionate, and very capable. Let’s build on that and see what happens.
As I continued to think about this article, I wanted to include the amazing men doing great things, good men need support just as women do. Many men are very supportive of women. And it goes beyond the sexes, children have incredible ideas, before adults tell them that something is impossible. Older generations have a wealth of knowledge, much of which is being lost to technology. We all have something to offer, and we need to encourage the outrageous ideas, the courageous, the bold. We must support each other.
Imagine a world where grand ideas were celebrated, and supported verbally, physically, and financially. The status quo is not working for the vast majority of people or the land; income inequality, climate change and short tempers make that obvious. Dare to make a stand, dare others to as well. Use positive words to build someone up, give compliments, help someone achieve their goals, research for them, make them dinner or donate money to show them you care and believe in them. What would the world, or let’s say Grand County, look like if we put our hands in and said, “Yes, great idea!” Not everything will work, but lessons will be learned, and the next project or dream will be even better.
I have been lucky to be a Peace Corps recruiter, an academic advisor, and director of a higher education non-profit organization, and a community coordinator. Throughout all of these positions, I was able to listen to bold goals by people who were not super confident. The best part of those positions was figuring out ways for people to achieve them. Their faces would light up, because they heard, “Yes!”, instead of “There is no way.” or “Are you crazy?” I have stayed in touch with some of these people and am so proud of who they are and the things they do. People are amazing, and they would have succeeded without me; but, whatever part I had to play in their life has been the happiest moments.
Learning to let go of negative thoughts and relationships is not easy. You must retrain your brain to create strong neuro-pathways that lead to positive thoughts. You may also have to let go of people who don’t help you move forward or support your ambitions. Negative people are stuck holding themselves back, and therefore cannot share your success with you. That is their struggle and you are on your own path. Your positive example may change their lives, but only if you dump the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors and move forward.
Try something you have always wanted to do. Meet new people and encourage their goals. Stop negative thoughts and redirect them into something healthy and helpful. We can all do this. Stand up for what you believe in and help people do the same. We may not all agree, but we can celebrate each other. Mentors have been incredibly important in my life. Be a mentor, build up your friends or even strangers.
We also need to demonstrate support for the community in general. Teachers, emergency responders, non-profit organizations, local businesses and government, etc. are spending time and energy contributing to the greater good. It is easy to point out faults and mistakes, but what about a community that points out success and positive decisions? What are the possibilities for a place based on support? They are endless and critically important.
The word Namaste means, “I bow to you,” or yogis say, “May the light in me honor the light in you.” More extensively it is defined as, “My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things, we are united, we are the same, we are one”.
Robyn Wilson has degrees in Sustainable Communities, and Bilingual and Multicultural Education. She teaches permaculture design at Colorado Mesa University, and returned to Grand County to manage Grandma Miller’s New Horizons.