How can I work with communities toward a sustainable future? What does happiness look like in a sustainable community?
Sustainability is all about melding the interests of a variety of groups so that each gets equal representation. A community cannot be fully sustainable if it only focuses on its environmental sustainability. Likewise a community fails to be fully sustainable if it emphasizes economic sustainability and lets social equity fall behind.
I was raised to focus solely on the environmental. Since coming to Tech, I have come to recognize the importance of incorporating the other two tenants of sustainability, social and economic. My english class has inspired me to take initiative in fighting racial profiling in law enforcement. The environmental and social issues that I perceive are things that I am passionate about. As Chapter 10 states, it’s important that we find something “big enough for our spirits.” As part of my Grand Challenges course, I’m trying to convince my group to take on the problem space of racial profiling in law enforcement so that we can develop a sustainable solution to the inequity that this issue creates. Meanwhile, I pursue an environmental engineering degree. My role in the future of sustainable communities is taking an active position in a variety of issues. I want to face them honestly because that is the only way that solutions can be reached. Therefore, I have to recognize the interconnectedness of communities.
This interconnectedness is what makes a sustainable community healthy. A sense of unity and connectedness is what makes members feel that they are part of something special. In fact, the more interconnected the economic, social, and environmental aspects of communities are, the more likely members are to be happy. Sustainable Happiness mentions the importance of having purpose in your life in Chapter 10. It also emphasizes the value of working with what you have and understanding your connection to the things that you own and create in Chapter 11. Happiness in sustainable communities means recognizing the range of effects that you have in the community and appreciating the impact that you can have through simple actions.