Notes from Windward: #67


Sustainable Pacing

Becca compares the rhythm of sustainable life at school and Windward

      The days are melting by here, each day filled with so much, and yet at the same time it's a very comfortable pace. I keep juxiposing the pace of life at Windward with the pace of life in my school's renewable energy club; both speeds have positive and negative aspects to them, and probably have a lot to do with the pace of a college student's life vs. the pace of life that a person can sustain for years without burning out.

      In Macalester's renewable energy club it's a lot like Windward in the sense that each person or group of people has their own project that they are in charge of. While the projects pertaining towards sustainability at an urban college are sometimes different from the sustainability projects in a rural community both kinds of projects are important in the way that they move in the direction of lessening our dependence on fossil fuels with an emphasis on community building. The problems facing the world are huge, but the amount of positive things going on in the world is even larger, and inspiration inspires and creates.

      At Macalester the environmental activism scene is huge, when people ask about environmental activism at Macalester, they're often at a loss as to what to say since there's so much going on, so much to be said. There's green roofing, biodiesel, energy audits, community theater, lobbying, educating, a clean energy revolving fund where money saved through energy saving projects goes back into the fund and increases it, green building, and so much more. The activism scene is facilitated by an extremely motivated student named Timothy who eats, dreams and speaks renewable energy every hour of every day, every day of the week. People not familiar with the club often become exhausted and overwhelmed after going to a meeting or engaging in a talk with Timothy just because the sense of urgency he gives is so intense.

     Is that a sustainable pace? It's open to debate. When you're young you believe anything is possible. You adhere to Mahatami Ghandi's wisdom to be the change you want to see in the world and run after everything all at once. You believe your urgent action is necessary right then and there and run after things full heartedly.

     However, as Walt often says, "Every thing takes longer, costs more, and turns out differently than expected." Many people who go too fast too quickly come to this realization, become frustrated and often give up. However, if a person doesn't try what seems impossible because they give up before they even start, they'll never know how far they might have gone. There is the saying, "Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you'll make it among the stars."

     Maybe it's a combination of the young and the old mentalities that Windward relies on that leads to the best answer. The feeling that young people have of endless potential coupled with the pace of life of an older person, slowly moving towards a goal. If you slowly move towards your dreams, towards making your portion of the world a better place, you can be like the tortoise in the parable of the tortoise and the hare. Both have the goal of making it to the finish line, but the hare burns out before he gets there.

     There is energy and potential in the world. The only way to see what is possible is to make an attempt at it. Lao Tzu's wisdom rings true in this case, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67