Last weekend, I was able to drive up from Chicago to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s annual Energy Fair in central Wisconsin. I camped out for four days alone while I attended workshops. I ate simply. Drank water. Slept in my tent. I listened to speakers, read good books. I inhaled and exhaled. It was better even than it sounds.
One of the not so surprising terms that got bandied about a lot at the fair was sustainability. Sustainable homes, sustainable building practices, sustainable gardening, sustainable energy, etc.
That word sustainability, like energy, like organic, has in some senses become co-opted to indicate a concrete practice—like building or gardening or electrical use— that gives as much as it takes and can continue without causing irreparable damage to humans or to the Earth itself.
But I was struck by the idea, several days in, that it’s not just the Earth we are treating as if it’s capable of sustaining infinite harm.
It’s our days.
We treat our days the same way. Our schedules look like landfills.
Our days, like our planet, like our selves, are not capable of sustaining the infinite damage of infinite busyness without respite. And that respite cannot be assumed, it must be chosen.
We need to create sustainable lives. Maybe it’s true that life can’t always be as refreshing as a few days in the woods. Okay. Maybe. But can’t it be more like that?”— Kelly Foster, "Sustainable Time" - from IMAGE’s blog Good Letters