2011 : Aspire!

by Scott Lewis | Brightworks CEO

The dawn of a new decade provides a convenient symbolic marker to reflect and reconsider our personal and collective goals, to assess our successes and efforts from the past, and to recalibrate and refocus our intent going forward.  It offers a sort of promise of renewal – that we can, once again, start afresh, wizened from what we have learned, sobered from our setbacks, and recommitted to our deepest values.  It is a good time to think about the idea of aspiration.

In 2011 and the remainder of the decade beyond, and the path stretching beyond that, to what do we aspire, should we aspire?  Always a good question for a January 1 reflection.

Confronted with abundant opportunties for ecological, political, economic and social change, the Big Questions for each of us, as individuals and a community, are“What are we going to do? – What choices will we make for the next year, and beyond?  How will we set our intent?”

I would propose, that for the New Year, the New Decade, and the decades beyond, that life is simply too short, time too precious, to give it anything less than our absolute best effort.  If you’re not going to give it your best shot, why bother at all?  So what does this mean, for those of us working in the sustainability arena?  Who among us is willing to step forward and say, “I’m all for incremental improvement!”  or “let’s set our hearts and souls to making things a little bit better!!” ?

Good.  I’m not hearing anyone willing to carry that banner.  Incremental improvement, aside from being insufficient, is also boring.  Back to the “life’s too short” theme – if we’re going to work for change, let’s work for transformative change.  We have plenty of examples of the possibilities – a renewable energy future, transformed local economies, re-configured products, services and organizations.

So going forth, into the New Decade, let us set the bar high, as high as it goes.  Let’s decide, here and now, that we’re not going to settle for “energy efficiency,” “less toxics,” “slowing down ecosystem degradation.”  Let’s set our sights on what we REALLY want to see happen, and see how fast we can get there, creating lasting value for our clients, our families, and the global community and ecology, all at the same time.  Let’s aim for a renewable energy economy within a decade.  Let’s commit ourselves not to “less toxics” in our projects, processes and systems, but zero toxics, or at the very least, one hundred percent closed loop recycling of all waste streams.  Close all loops – technical nutrient cycles and biological nutrient cycles.  We know it’s possible – the barriers are not technical.  They are barriers only of resolve.  And therefore, as real as they seem, they are, in a sense, illusory.  Our only limitation is our imagination.  Let us resolve to nothing less than the full restoration of harmony between the human endeavor and the bounteous living and non-living systems that sustain us.  Now that’s a goal worth getting up in the morning to go work for!

For 2011 then, let our theme, our mantra, our tagline and our motto, be simple…

Aspire!

~ Happy New Year

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