Individual Sustainability

Individual Sustainability – McDearis & Pappas

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5 thoughts on “Individual Sustainability – McDearis & Pappas”

  1. Many individual dimensions are linked interchangeably. If I start dieting and eating healthier, then my physical ability and appearance may change for the better. Also, if I work on my individual self this will allow me to be a happier person and people around me will realize this. I have trouble grasping what I need to do to improve my individual self, but I know if I show love and happiness as opposed to sadness and hate I will have a much better life.

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  2. “Individual Sustainability”:
    I found the video to be very educational about individual sustainability and the sub-topics that makes up the “sustainability” of one person’s self, yet it took a while to explain everything like physical, emotional, and social aspects to name a few. Like the oil spill in the gulf and how it affected people, businesses, and animals, it can cause the aspects of Individual Sustainability to be unbalanced, making things worse. I felt that if I were to workout, be happier, and work hard in class, I can find myself to have a happier and better life.

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  3. The saying, “it’s much easier said than done,” should be logo generations logo .Many people think they are one thing but in reality are completely the opposite. Even I am a victim of this. Saying I support an issue or am trying to do something, and never end up helping or what I said. People will have a perfect vision of who they want to be, but are not taking the steps necessary to get that end result. We can only be judged by our actions. Have you really done anything to make you who you say you are? I am working hard by taking action to create my own real. Not just something being said.

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  4. Hello! My name is Al, I’m from the Appalachia bioregion, and I’d like to have a discussion about some of the assumptions made in this video. So I thought i’d start by posting a comment and seeing the response.

    The whole concept of this website seems to be the individual and individual effort. As Miles Horton said in the book We Make The Road By Walking, “people thought that consciousness is limited to their own conscious. I guess some people thought it would start there and spread to society, but most of it dead-ended there.” If we want to address the problem of an unsustainable society, dnt we have to addess the disconnection from people and nature which individuality sustains? Turning the focus on individual sustainability is perpetuating the need for the very concept of sustainability. Maybe we focus too much already on our selves; maybe the worldview which focuses on me, my needs, my enlightenment, is itself a worldview which perpetuates the mass exploitation of the earth and of people. Maybe “the problem” is much more profound than how sustainable my own lifestyle is, but rather the fact that i am complicit in capitalist white-supremacist patriarchal metanarratives and social strucutres which are utterly dependent on individualism (as opposed to colelctive efforts of production and lifestyles which counter the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism and unsustainable society) – an individualism which dissociates me from my neighbor, from my local community, from the many other forms of life around me by labeling them as “resources” or “strangers”. Maybe the focus on personal sustainability itself dismisses the fact that the problem is much bigger than individuals living differently. I would like to see videos about collective sustainability efforts. I would like to see more information on our interdependence with all of other people and forms of life, particularly the janitors and hall mates and professors and cooks that members of a campus community interact with, or could interact with, on a daily basis. I believe unsustainability ultimately arises out of an unhealthy relationships, or lack of relationship at all, with the forms of life around us, including humans and nonhumans, and that sustainability is fundamentally an issue of community. Frankly, it doesn’t matter how much i recycle, how short of showers i take, and how enlightened i am in terms of systems theory. sustainability must first and foremost be a collective effort to change the fundamental structures of a society which necessarily exploits humans and the earth for its sustenance. Otherwise we risk self-righteous complicity with an unsustainable worldview and society.
    Thoughts?

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    1. Al,

      You raise some excellent points and valid limitations to an individual sustainability framework. While it may be true that our society’s focus on the individual perpetuates the systems and mechanisms which make us, collectively, unsustainable, what we are trying to offer young people through this site is an introductory understanding of how an individual person is complicit and responsible for larger societal structures and cultural processes, and how they can use their power as individuals to reject and detach from the powers that be (hegemonic notions of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and so on). As much as it may be theoretically (and perhaps to a certain extent, practically) problematic to root this mission in a focus on individualism, we admit that it is a useful means for reaching a target audience that is so hopelessly enculturated into the idea of individual agency and responsibility. Indeed, we are committed to the theoretical approach that, even in the face of structural obstacles to justice, health, or sustainability, there are avenues for individual people to demand and/or enact change, if not in their communities right away, than at least in their personal lives.

      The points you brought up have alerted us to an important layer of our conceptual framework that informs our approach but may not as yet be clearly expressed on our site (other than briefly in the introduction to the video “Individual Sustainability”. In addition to “individual sustainability,” we recognize several other contexts of sustainability that are inseparable from each other, including environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, cultural/social sustainability (what you seem to be talking about most directly). We emphasize individual sustainability here in order to highlight it as an important starting point for thinking about these broader contexts. It is our hope that individuals reflect on their unavoidable interconnectedness with these broader cultural currents and mechanisms of power/exploitation/un-sustainability and thereby recognize their personal responsibility to resist and reverse these structures to their fullest extent.

      Perhaps we are talking about “community” or “collectivity” on different levels. Ours is ultimately a call for developing a global cosmopolitanism, but we also loosely organize our message around smaller circles of community to show how our personal, family, community, and worldwide relationships are all related. What would it mean to be a proponent of abolishing all warfare and violence around the world, if you were unable to maintain a peaceful relationship with your partner at home? We also have to bear in mind our target audience–young people/college-aged folks, whose local community is more likely to be in flux for a period of years, and who is likely already preoccupied with developing notions of the self/ a personal identity.

      We really appreciate your honest feedback and hope to continue the conversation!

      Rosie Lynch

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