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100% Totally Sustainable

1. In order for a person to understand what it takes to be 100% totally sustainable, the person needs to understand that everything connects to everything. Everything (all social elements and all natural elements) is connected together.  Everything links to everything.  Firstly, each social element (health care, quality of life, school, freedom, art, values, etc.) has an affect on the other social elements.  Secondly, each natural element (plants, animals, ecology, water, geology & soil, air, weather & climate, etc.) has an affect on the other natural elements.  Thirdly, society and nature link to each other through culture.  Whether or not people deliberately relate to the outdoor environment or not, people’s social actions shape a culture which affects local and or distant natural habitats. The environment (whether it’s mostly man-built or natural, or pristine or poisoned) has an affect on society.  Everything is related to everything. Every aspect of each person's life and each society and culture affects  all social elements (health, economy, freedom, art, values, etc.), culture, and all natural resources and elements (habitats, plants, animals, water, ground, air, etc.) Each action a person takes affects individual people, social elements, cultural elements, and natural elements.  Each action a society takes affects individual people, social elements, cultural elements, and natural elements.  Furthermore, all social, cultural, and natural elements affect each person and each society and culture.

2. Also, in order for a person to understand what it takes to be 100% totally sustainable, the person needs to understand that people need natural elements and people need to live with nature (wilderness, natural habitats, ecosystems).  Nature provides people with vital natural resources (food and materials with which to make clothing, shelter, tools, and art).  Nature provides people with a great economy and great health. Furthermore, nature provides people with an inspiring, exciting, and relaxing place.  Nature is a space of beautiful complexity and diversity; nature is not boring.  Self-reliantly living in nature, prudently using nature, sustaining and protecting nature, and celebrating how society connects with nature give people purpose, satisfaction, and inspiration.  The opposite of nature / wilderness is an empty blank place.  People cannot live in an empty blank place.  An empty blank place has no resources (no food to eat, no materials with which to make clothes, shelter, and living spaces); empty blank places are places of poverty (people without resources).  Furthermore, people and society cannot thrive with only food, clothes, and shelter.  People and society need inspiration and worthy purposes to thrive, flourish, and to be happy.  An empty blank place makes people purposeless, dissatisfied, and bored.  In an empty blank place, there is nothing worthwhile, invigorating, satisfying, or inspiring to do.  People do not want to live a life of purposelessness (or worthless purpose), dissatisfaction, and boredom. 

3. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, “Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. We need the tonic of wildness … We can never have enough Nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, …”

4. A 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture sustains individual people, society, and nature.  Thus, a 100% sustainable lifestyle and culture is not only about sustaining nature, it is about sustaining individual people and society too.  Furthermore, a 100% lifestyle and culture provides individual people and society with the best conditions for thriving and flourishing.  Thus, a 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture is not about meager living and marginal survival, but it is about supporting individual people, societies, and nature to thrive and flourish.   A 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture empowers individual people, expands each person’s wisdom and skills, and enriches each person to be competent at benefitting society and nature in manifold ways.  In a 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture, both humankind and nature wins. 

5. Moreover, it should be understood that in a less than 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture, it’s likely that humankind will eventually – sooner or later – totally fail and go extinct.  In a less than 100% totally sustainable lifestyle and culture, many plants and animals will go extinct.  However, it’s likely that not all plants and animals will go extinct.  Thus, after humankind goes extinct, the remaining plants and animals will likely thrive and evolve into a great diversity of plants and animals in the future.  Nature will survive and flourish without humankind.  Therefore, being 100% totally sustainable is really about supporting nature so that humanity can survive and flourish.  People need natural resources and people need to live in nature’s beautiful complexity and diversity, or else people will starve from the lack of calories, nutrition, clothes, shelter, usefulness, creativity, and or inspiration.

6. In the Disney-Pixar movie WALL-E, people lived in the empty blank place of a spaceship; people lived without nature.  The spaceship’s captain exclaimed, “I can't just sit here and do nothing. That's all I've ever done! That's all anyone on this blasted ship has ever done - nothing! … I don’t want to ‘survive,’ I want to ‘live!’”  Thus, in WALL-E, the people flew back to earth, to live with Earth’s nature and to live more self-reliantly to have more purpose, usefulness, creativity, and inspiration in their life.  Without usefulness, creativity, and inspiration, life is not worth living. 

7. Here’s what it takes to be 100% totally sustainable.  Only societies of small populations and lots of land (farm and or wilderness) can be 100% totally sustainable. A 100% totally society needs to have enough land for each person to freely use and freely live on. Enough land means that the land is big enough to supply each person with all the types of natural resources (water, variety of nutritious food, materials for clothes, materials for shelter, materials for tools, and materials for art) and to supply each person with an adequate quantity of each type of natural resource.  A 100% sustainable society gets all its vital resources (and almost all its total resources) from within the boundaries of its land.  A 100% totally sustainable community is 100% totally self-reliant; it locally gathers materials from within its boundaries and makes everything it needs. Furthermore, each member of society has to prudently use its resources, directly gather and monitor its resources, and help keep its resources replenishing. In a 100% totally sustainable self-sufficient society, people do not need any money to get vital necessities, to be healthy, and to have a great life. 

8. Think Global, Act Local.  In 100% totally sustainable cultures, people think globally and act locally.  People are locally focused to be sustainable, not to be narrow-minded and dim-witted.  Localization is about being sustainable.  Throughout the world, as each society is sustaining its own local land and local natural resources, the whole globe is being sustained.  Furthermore, being sustainable is not just about sustaining nature, it’s about sustaining and enriching people’s health, joy, fun, the economy, education, freedom, art, values, families, and friendships too.  It’s wise to be sustainable. 

9. In a 100% totally sustainable culture, people are empowered.  People are useful to their local society and local nature.  Amazingly, people make their own food, clothes, shelter, tools, art, etc. from local natural materials.  In a 100% totally sustainable culture, people are phenomenal, resourceful, practical, wise, and very skilled.   In a 100% totally sustainable culture, technology may be simple, but each person thrives in a self-reliant creative small community and social elements ( family, friendships, health, economy, school, freedom, art, values, etc.) are in optimal condition.  In an unsustainable culture, people lose their power to distant centralized bureaucracies and money and high technology.  In an unsustainable culture, a few individual people may have amazing specialized skills and or areas of expertise, but most people are useless, stupid, impractical, and are a burden to society and nature.  In an unsustainable culture, bureaucracies, money, and technology thrive while nature, people, and social elements deteriorate. 

10.  In general, bureaucracies, globalization, money, and higher technology cannot help society become 100% totally sustainable.  In general, augmenting bureaucracies, expanding globalization, making more international organizations, depending more on money, and advancing technology increasingly make culture, society, and lifestyles less sustainable. 

11. What’s the word for this unsustainable modern culture, a culture of humongous social problems and environmental problems?   (Social problems include: poverty, slavery, weapons of mass destruction, poor education, over crowded prisons, etc.  Environmental problems include: deforestation, desertification, air pollution, water pollution, decrease of biodiversity, etc.  See more at Priorities of Education: Overcoming Social-Environmental Problems.) Actually, the world has been experiencing this type of culture for 6,000 years.  Recently, this type of culture has quickly expanded; thus, recently, all problems have become much worse.  This type of unsustainable culture is called civilization.  Civilization always was, is, and forever will be unsustainable.  (See definition of civilization.) Civilization is the opposite of people and nature.  Nature inclines to be creative and to recycle and replenish resources.  People, who are not under the influence of civilization, naturally incline to be creative and to recycle and help replenish resources too.  However, people have been easily swayed by civilization to unknowingly live unsustainable lifestyles.  Civilization’s goal is only to increase in size and to destroy and deplete resources at increasing rates.  Civilization destroys nature, clears and flattens the land, and creates empty blank places (a. k. a. cities) of paved roads, immaculate lawns, and massive buildings.  Following, civilization goes to distant lands to extract natural resources and brings the resources to the people living in the empty blank places.  Thus, for now, in the empty blank places, many people have food, clothes, and houses; yet, many people are bored and feel useless.  (Not everyone is bored in civilization; there are a few people who live exciting lives. But, most people are bored.) Meanwhile, in the distant lands (from which civilization extracted the natural resources to give to people in the empty blank spaces), many people live in poverty.  Today, 1.02 billion people are starving for food, according to Bread for the World.  Once civilization uses up all of Earth’s natural resources (even the distant resources), every person will be in poverty and starving for food (and for usefulness, creativity, and inspiration too).  But, perhaps soon, most people can start to get rid of the influence of civilization and learn how to live sustainably to replenish some nature for continued use. 

12. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver wrote about cities,  “For much of US history, rural regions have been treated essentially as colonial property of the cities.  … When urban-headquartered companies come to the country with a big plan – whether their game is coal, timber, or industrial agriculture – the plan is to take out the good stuff, ship it to the population centers, make a fortune, and leave behind a mess.” In Endgame, Derrick Jensen also describes cities and civilization as extracting resources from distant lands and being unsustainable. Also see You-Tube video “Derrick Jensen: Civilization and Enlightenment.” Civilization always was, is, and forever will be unsustainable.

13. Uncivilization always was, is, and forever will be 100% totally sustainable.  Uncivilization has been around for 100,000+ years.  Uncivilized people lived 100% totally sustainable lives.  From 100,000+ years to 6,000 years ago, nature and all people thrived.  Uncivilization is wonderful.  Of course, civilization lies: civilization wants people to think that civilization is wonderful and that uncivilization is wretched.  Uncivilization is not perfect, but it is much better in many ways than civilization is.  (See Civilization vs. Uncivilization.)

14. Likely it's best for modern society to gradually return to uncivilization. It would likely be an environmental catastrophe for everyone to turn uncivilized overnight. For instance, if everyone immediately stopped eating factory-made food and ate only wild animals instead, there might be an immediate extinction of every medium to large mammal in the wild. It seems like the world is too populated for everyone to live an uncivilized life. The unsustainable chemically-fertilized food makes it possible to feed a lot of the world now. Likely, the future human population of the world needs to decrease in order for everyone to thrive in an uncivilized society. Meanwhile, each of us can do what each of us can to gradually and persistently become more sustainable, locally-oriented, and self-reliant. Each person (or family, or small social group) will become more uncivilized in a unique order of steps. For instance, some people will become energy independent first; and start growing their own food second; and start making their own art, music, and stories third; and continue to more steps. While others will make their own art, music, and stories first; and start growing their own food second; and start hunting and gathering third; and continue to more steps. Still others will grow their own food first; and start homeschooling their own children second; and start making their own clothes, shelter, and tools third; and continue to more steps. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

More on 100% Totally Sustainable
There is a paragraph that discusses 100% totally sustainable also at pages: Great Life, Great Culture and Civilizaiton vs. Uncivilization and Uncivilization. Read the entirety of all 3 pages to further understand being 100% totally sustainable.

Links:

Southwest Michigan's Sustainable Pursuits
Various examples of how people of Southwest Michigan are currently taking action to sustain nature and society.

Additional Sustainable Pursuits
Various examples of how people of Michigan, USA, and beyond are currently taking action to sustain nature and society.

Great Life, Great Culture
Examples of a sustainable life and sustainable culture. Further describes what it takes to be 100% totally sustainable.

Imagine a School
A sustainable school. A school in which children learn about their connections to social elements and natural elements; and children learn how to be a benefit to society and nature and to enrich and sustain society and nature.
40 ways a school can be a benefit to children, society, and nature.

© 2008-2010 Pocket Pumpkin Press, last updated April 2010
Three Oaks, Michigan, USA