Sustainable living has been simply defined as living in a manner that utilizes resources in a way that does not diminish their availability for future generations. This is a tough mandate for most of us in the developed world, given our penchant for an increasing array of products and services that bring us the “good life
Defined in this way, sustainable living is a far cry from a business as usual lifestyle with the simple injection of green products. In the past 50 years, the world in general (and the U.S. in particular) has accelerated its consumption of non-renewable resources at a rate unprecedented in history. Since World War II, the human race has consumed as many goods and services as all previous generations combined!
Today, a growing world demand for resources; the peaking of oil production; the ticking time bomb of global climate change; and the massive loss of species world-wide are signaling the end of the era of limitless consumption. Why not:
- Claim the realities of today?
- Learn to conserve resources, taking only what we need?
- Look at EVERYTHING we do as having consequences, investigating what actions we can take to use what we need, rather than what goods we are able consume – simply because they are readily available?
In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.
– The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations
Long ago, Indigenous people understood our relationship to the earth, based upon a delicate balance between its living parts. The Great Law of the Iroquois crystallized the sacred responsibility of Indigenous people to consider the interests of the next seven generations whenever decisions were made. Following this ancient, wise principal today just might bring us into a new era of sustainable and just living.