Category Archives: Sustainability
Celebrate the new year with a film that will deliver what Hollywood can’t: a genuine inquiry into the human prospect for living sustainably within the means of Nature.
There are limits to how many explosions, car chases, and gunfights people can absorb as “entertainment” before their discernment about reality is compromised.
Why not share a copy of our new film for those who seek a deeper understanding of life in the twenty-first century? Share it with teachers, librarians, civic leaders, local clergy, and anyone who is searching for a better quality of life.
“SUSTAINABILITY: Changing the Operating System” is a visionary film about the integration of environmental, economic, and social action to create a future that is green, profitable, fair, and “glocal”. It examines the old “operating system” of industrial growth that has given rise to a series of interlocking crises in finance, energy, food, water, biodiversity, poverty, climate disruption, and population growth. The film calls for a new operating system that is grounded in the life of community and dedicated to the health and resilience of people, markets, and ecosystems.
Examining both the promise and limitations of sustainability, the film offers a sobering but hopeful look at life in the twenty-first century. Sustainability is presented as a process of improvement in relationships between diverse groups of people, and between people and their environment. Vital to this improvement in relationships is the human capacity for empathy and compassion, along with an understanding of interdependence and how it determines our place in the great web of life.
The filmmaker, Dr. Monty Hempel, is a national leader in sustainability thought and practice, having served as a founding board member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and as president of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. Hempel has taught university courses about sustainability for more than 20 years and has produced books and previous films about sustainability, including the award-winning video, Spirit of Place (2011). He is also the founding president of Blue Planet United.
Film format: NTSC 16:9, DVD-R, running time: 47:37
by Monty Hempel, President, Blue Planet United
Sustainability is arguably the defining challenge of the twenty-first century – a challenge with profound implications for the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of every institution of higher education. Rising interest in sustainability is already helping to re-shape the vision, mission, and programs of more than one-thousand colleges and universities, as evidenced by the rapid growth of campus initiatives inventoried by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). See, for example, the AASHE Bulletin’s annual inventory of college and university initiatives: http://www.aashe.org/publications/sustainability-review .
Sustainability is ultimately about developing and preserving opportunities in the social, economic, and ecological spheres of life. Education for sustainability requires (1) systems thinking, (2) a concern about future generations, and (3) the integration of learning about the environment, the economy, and social equity – the 3 “E”s. Fundamentally, sustainability is about our collective bequest: what we leave future generations in the way of healthy ecosystems, strong economies, great art, vibrant communities, adaptive management systems, and challenges worthy of a highly educated society.
The most promising use of sustainability concepts may be in conjunction with concepts of community. Sustainable communities do not face the widespread criticism reserved for sustainable development, viewed by some to be an oxymoron. Moreover, community ideas resonate deeply in the academic worlds of ecology, macro-economics, sociology/anthropology, ethics, and may other fields. In fact, the essence of sustainability could be defined as preserving the life of community (human and nonhuman) for purposes that include happiness, physical life-support, spiritual growth, and progress toward the realization of unfulfilled human potential,
Sustainability, as a unifying philosophy that is grounded in the life of community, might just satisfy the disparate needs of people today and those who will follow. It warrants the serious risk taking that all big ideas demand of those who call themselves teachers and scholars.