What does sustainable living really mean?
To many people, simply being able to put food on the table means they are sustainable. Of course, on an individual or micro level this probably feels true. After all, if someone has been able to provide for themselves or their family throughout their life, then you could say they have sustained their life. To these people, being sustainable is simply the act of perpetuating their own existence.
On the global or macro level, the concept and application of sustainability has been anything but sustainable. To this day, governments and global populations have applied the approach that once a resource has been depleted, you simply move to a new location where the resource is plentiful or transport the resource to the population. In fact, throughout global society and recent history, the term 'sustainable' has meant little more than "existence through irresponsible over consumption".
Here is a quote from the movie “Matrix” that expresses man-kinds’ historic impact on nature and our natural resources. This is a quote by Agent Smith, while speaking to Morpheus about his perception of the human species.
“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague.”
From these examples, it shouldn't surprise anyone that global human existence is on the threshold of self destruction?
From all accounts, the word ‘sustainability’ appears to be one of the most overused and misunderstood terms in modern times. To understand the meaning of sustainability, maybe it's easier to consider the consequences without it. Without sustainability, any form of life in an ecosystem (in this case - humans) will either die off completely or die off to the point where the remaining population becomes sustainable. After all "sustainable" means the act of perpetuation or continuing to exist.
In recent times, there has been an increase in interest for options and possibilities to become more sustainable, however, these discussions are generally limited to communities, small groups, and individual families. To date, there is little being done that would create sustainability on a global level and for obvious reasons. Unsustainable growth has been embraced as the standard for so long that we can not simply step on the brakes and reverse directions. In other words, the issue of sustainability on a global or even social level is just too massive for any government to even begin to adequately address.
In the most basic understanding of supply and demand, sustainability means that you only consume the resources that can be replenished or replaced by nature before you need to use that same resource again. In order to achieve such a goal, any society would need to be in balance with nature and be living in alignment with the natural laws.
One example of a sustainable resource is water. We drink water from a stream or lake, then it rains or snows and the water supply is replenished. As soon as we drink, consume, or pollute the water faster than it can be replenished by nature, we become unsustainable. If you look at the global fresh water supplies or virtually any other natural resource that human's consume daily, you begin to see just how unsustainable the current human population has become on planet Earth.
When we consume minerals, the byproducts are often toxic, unable to be recycled, and in many cases such as gold, silver, platinum, oil, and coal, Earth is not capable of replenishing these resources in any known natural cycle that provides a balance with human consumption. Until a society, community, or group has achieved a balanced relationship with supply and demand of natural resources, they are not sustainable and have no long-term viability.
The Project TriStar community has embraced the primary objective of sustainability through an understanding of what it means to live in harmony with the natural laws. To Project TriStar, this means knowledge of the natural environmental, understanding the needs of the community, conservation of resources, reducing waste, and eliminating toxic byproducts. This is complimented by a lifestyle and spiritual foundation that sheds the attachment to greed, ego, and the emotional insecurities that result in over consumption; the need to have more material stuff than another person; as well as a mission that is for the greatest good of the community rather than to oneself.
To the Project TriStar community, this translates to an understanding that community sustainability can only be achieved if you first achieve personal sustainability between the mind, body, and spirit. In other words, in order to achieve balance within a community, the community members must first be able to achieve balance within themselves. As such, the Project TriStar community lifestyle is designed to help each member process through their personal challenges, to support continuous experiential growth, healing, and balance on a personal level in order to shed the self-destructive patterns that have consumed the consciousness of modern man.
Why is personal responsibility important?
Every member of the community is a producer and consumer of resources and, as such, is responsible for their personal consumption patterns, environmental impact, and waste. Another way to put this is being conscious of your actions and having respect towards others and nature. The Project TriStar community, as a whole, bears the bulk of these responsibilities through its planning, lifestyle, and governance to serve the goals and well being of the individual members and the community while being aligned with the natural laws.
On an individual or member level, this responsibility means continuous efforts to shed personal insecurities and fears that can cause people to horde, become greedy, and compete for resources; to have respect for everything in nature; and to understand the impact of personal actions on other members, nature, and natural resources.
On the community level, this responsibility means understanding the balance between the natural laws of supply and demand, to allow the natural environment around the community to thrive with minimal interference, and to monitor and manage resources for the benefit of the entire community. This also includes: a minimal community footprint, a more natural and organic approach to power generation and use, reduced waste, and resource recycling.
Of course, all of these actions come with some pretty hefty challenges. After all, it has literally been hundreds or even thousands of years since any significant society has achieved a 100% sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainable versus self-sustainable:
To Project TriStar or any other remote and off-the-grid community, the concept of sustainability is taken to another level also known as self-sustainability.
Sustainability implies that you could draw on neighboring resources in times of need. This single concept has been the basis for the majority of warring actions against our neighbors since the beginning of colonization. In some cases, resources have been plundered to survive a natural disaster. In other cases, due to poor planning, management, or overpopulation. And still in other cases, simply out of greed.
Self-sustainability implies that you do not have access to the resources of a neighboring community or neighboring land. This could be due to the remoteness of a community or the location being in a harsh environment where resources are scarce. The result is that any self-sustainable community requires better preparation, planning, and management of resources.
A big part of the Project TriStar preparation and planning has been consideration of the community location in respect to remoteness, changes in weather and environmental conditions, Possible Earth Events, and the probability of Socioeconomic Impacts from global over consumption. As a result, Project TriStar has determined that the community and its members are best served with the community being both remote and self-sustainable.
This doesn’t mean the community won’t have access to neighboring resources, but only that the community plan and design are such that use of those resources should not be necessary. It also means the community must have access to several disciplines of essential knowledge to create and maintain a self-sustainable existence. Any knowledge on self-sustainability that is not native to the community membership will be acquired and stored as part of the community development.