Posted by urbansuburbanecoliteracy | Posted in Social Sustainability | Posted on 24-06-2010
Sometimes an idea has to be cooked back down to its origins so that it may be reborn with new vitality and strength.
Urban/Suburban Ecoliteracy has reached one of these choicepoints. It is unlikely that the workshop will continue to be offered monthly in Southern CA, but not because the content of the workshop is irrelevant and superfluous. A friend recently commented that this workshop may be ahead of its time. It may be. Then again, because the workshop exists and because Divine timing is always spot on, Urban/Suburban Ecoliteracy may just be right where it needs to be right now. The workshop just needs to exist in a different format.
I had hopes that the workshop would be gaining positive momentum while facilitating new social connections between workshop attendees as they learn the mindset that allows sustainability to take root. In other words, teaching people systems thinking is the ostensible goal of Urban/Suburban Ecoliteracy but one of the key intentions of the workshop was to rebuild sorely needed social capital.
Here’s a quick test to see how much social capital you have in your neighborhood. How many of your neighbors do you know? Of the neighbors you have met and liked, how well do you know them and how well do they know you? How many would you trust to watch your kids? How many could you depend on to have your back if the crap hit the proverbial fan? How many of your neighbors can count on you to have their backs? Most of us don’t know our neighbors, let alone trust them. Trust is a measure of the presence or absence of social capital. The psychological, emotional, and physical safety and well-being of children (and other vulnerable members of society) in their own neighborhoods and in their families is another measure of social capital.
It was also part of the inherent design of the workshop format that that material would be tailored for its locale. Each and every community would, in effect, be hosting a unique workshop that was intended to create or enhance a sense of place. Considering the disparate communities that the workshop participants have come from, creating a sense of community connected to and grounded within a place wasn’t going to happen through the workshops. Metropolitan Los Angeles sprawls too far. It’s a place without a true center, which may be said to be everywhere and nowhere all at once. Although interpersonal affinities may be felt among workshop participants, authentic community is hard to foster without face time in real time. That may offend all you Twitter and Facebook users, but the need for face time is our collective social reality. It’s just how we’re wired as social beings.
As a recently soured relationship with a former client has reminded me, we are collectively a long way off from where we need to be and where we yearn to be. Regardless of political stripe, I know of no person of reasonably good character who does not want to be safe and for that safety to be extended to beloved friends and family. We yearn to trust and yet we’re surrounded my messages that pelt us day in and day out that 1) we’re not safe, 2) we’re never good enough, 3) we can never have enough, 4) we’re surrounded by crazy people and predators, and 5) the world is rife with scarcity, fierce competition, incessant threats, and ever-present danger. You have to get “them” before “they” get you, whomever “they” might be.
Is this honestly the world that you want for your children and grandchildren? Is this the world that you want for yourself?Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it (http://www NULL.addthis NULL.com/bookmark NULL.php),