Sustainability Solution 


Sustainability Is A Spiritual Solution

In Sustainability Is A Spiritual Solution, I share my perspective on this very important issue.  It's a holistic and integrated solution where our economy relies less on mass consumerism and more on services that enrich our experience, corporations and governments are reorganized as "living" beings with a "soul", and we each individually live from our purpose, creating cottage industries organized in village communities.


A Call To Action

We have reached a point if we look honestly and fully we will see that the way we live today is not sustainable. We consume too much, work too hard, creating too much trash and rapidly depleting the earth’s non-renewable resources. In short, we do not respect and live within the natural flow and order of things. The world economic crisis that began in the fall of 2008 is no accident when you consider the way we have lived, worked and consumed. Economists describe it as a correction. The economy had gotten out of sorts so it naturally begins to correct itself. In a way, it is a call to action and need only be as painful as it takes to get our attention in order to begin taking corrective measures.

We speak of an economic recovery. When used to describe an illness, recovery suggests a return to wellness. In this same way, a recovery of the economy, real estate or financial markets would be one that returns to a state of wellness. But the situation prior to the current crisis was not well. Real estate prices had risen beyond their inherent value. Financial markets were buoyed by high-risk investments in mortgages behind these over-valued properties. Consumers were borrowing heavily to buy merchandise they really did not need. There was no real substance in the apparent economic boom. It was not sustainable.

Our economy has fallen into a cycle where we need to make things in order to fuel growth so that we have jobs and can earn a living. It’s like a snake eating it’s own tail. Any effort to return to that model and simply spend our way out of this crisis is not going to succeed in the long term. We will still be working too hard to produce too much, creating too much waste and depleting the earth’s resources. The only solution of substance is to look closely at how we are living and begin to take new actions for a different way of life going forward.

Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them.” Solving for sustainable living requires going metaphorically to the headwaters of the Amazon where the flow of that mighty river can be diverted with one’s hand. That is where problems are solved for the long term – by going to the original source, and correcting it.

Thinking and acting “green” is suggested to solve sustainability. But quite frankly, that’s not enough. The green movement is about addressing individual problems, challenges and issues – fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, carbon footprint, smart design, locally grown, organic. It’s an incremental change within the current paradigm – a short-term solution that doesn’t first address the way we live to then affect the way we consume and produce. While a “green” approach might work for a short while, it inevitably will only carry us forward until the next crisis. We need “blue” thinking where the sky is the limit and we think past the short term, look honestly at where we are and take the appropriate actions to ensure a sustainable future for centuries to come.

Sustainable living requires a holistic and integrated solution – thoughtful and deliberate – thinking beyond our own selves and our existence at this time. We must go to the source of the problem – our relationship with and rightful place in the world. Quite simply, it is a spiritual solution.


A Spiritual Solution

Our sustained existence calls for being in right relationship with the world, respecting our home in this planet while cohabitating with all aspects of life and nature – in harmony, not domination. It’s living from the inside out, with great concern for the future and those who will inhabit this planet after we are gone. We find harmony within our selves and then carry it out into the way we relate with the world – fully living our lives by enriching the experience and sustaining our existence. From this harmony, it is how we do things, who, and what we do those things with. It is letting go of the small self we only think we are and realizing the greater truth of who we really are, connected with and a part of the greater fabric of our collective all-ness. From this awakened truth we have the willingness, the courage and the knowledge to take the right actions for a sustainable future.

Let’s face it, we are smart enough and have the resources to solve for sustainability. Our intelligence has evolved as far as it can within the constraints of our physical bodies. We would need a larger head to be any smarter. And that would take evolution thousands and thousands of years to create. Fortunately though, there is the paradigm shifting opportunity to offload memory and repetitive thought processes to our hand-held computing devices, freeing our brains of these more mundane tasks and allowing us to engage the higher, intuitive capacity of the frontal cortex, or “god” mind. From this place we can access our own inner knowing. We will know what to do and will want to do what is right.

Our creative minds will be stimulated, as we are motivated to find solutions outside our current experience. Combined with our awakened truth, we have the opportunity for a higher community connected through the Internet, bringing together our collective intelligence. We will solve for the future as our current way of life begins to dissolve around us – the phoenix emerging from the ashes. And in so doing, we need not experience the pain and suffering of a dissolving way of life if we choose to actively participate in our future as it unfolds.

Sustainable living is simply a way of life that will sustain itself for the foreseeable future, where we live in harmony and right relationship with our place in the world so that we take a long-term view, considering our legacy and those who come after us, building towards the future rather than replicating the past. I know we are capable. I hope we have the courage.


A New World Order

There are really just a few things we could do in order to begin living sustainably, but they require the huge first step of honoring our place in the world and finding harmony with our environment – a significant and profound shift in how we live. It’s more than a green movement of conserving and recycling. We need the significant shift of a blue movement.

Very few people think about the life of what they are buying; seldom expecting to utilize something longer than a few short years, or less. There is little forethought of how our stuff will be disposed, how it was produced, and the effect both those actions have on the planet. We view the earth as something to exploit, rather than live in harmony with. Our economy feeds on this consumer behavior.

We need a new economic model that is not critically and essentially dependent on consumerism. Less consumerism results in less production, reducing the abuse to our planet. These immediate actions buy us time to devise and implement totally sustainable methods of producing energy and manufacturing. A revitalized economy will emerge, creating new jobs.

Now, imagine our money system just went away – yet we all kept doing what we do for one another and exchanging all the products we need. Nothing would really be any different except we wouldn’t be obsessed with money, wealth and consumption, resolving our out of control economy. Without the drive for economic growth and in the presence of a higher human consciousness, we would consume just what we need, ending overproduction, overconsumption and all the related waste and destruction to the planet. It’s a radical view but highlights how arbitrary our money system really is.

And what if we begin to focus more on the exchange of services rather than buying so much stuff to support our economy. We could exchange services related to awakening and deepening our spiritual experiences – healing, bodywork, mentoring, counseling – an economy where we focus less on stuff and more on substance, connecting with the truth and essence of who we really are. As we heal who we are, we will naturally connect with our world in a different way, with reverence and respect, so that we effortlessly begin to take better care of the planet.

We learn to consume responsibly, using only what we need and needing only what we use. In short, it’s a new world order where we consume less, produce less, eliminate manufacturing jobs, re-invest that human capital into building the infrastructure of sustainable energy production and responsible manufacturing, as we transition into an economy less dependent on stuff and more on substance.

It’s a very high order and a lofty vision, but in many ways it is already happening. Our choice is how we choose to participate – slowly and painfully dragging our feet or by embracing this vision fully and willingly. This is an incredible time with the opportunity to experience and participate in this movement. Gather your strength, your resolve and let’s step forward, together, into our future.


Sustainability Solution Barry Lipscomb Business FocalizerRewilding From The Top Down

Rewilding is a concept in Conservation Biology whereby reintroducing keystone predatory species into a particular environment, resilience of the ecosystem is restored, and even maximized. This theory recognizes our ecosystems are delicately balanced and can easily get thrown into disarray. Rewilding has the potential of restoring balance, from the top down, enabling the greater ecosystem to flourish once again.

A similar approach has the potential of restoring the balance within our governments and corporations. These institutions are badly broken – often taking a short-term view in making decisions that affect us well into the long-term. They frequently make compromises to deliver more immediate results or satisfy some specific constituency group, rather than view themselves as part of a much larger ecosystem and make decisions with consideration for our long-term survival. Yet, we don’t necessarily have to throw them out completely in order to move ourselves into a sustainable future. Perhaps there is the opportunity for an organizational rewilding.

Imagine for a moment, someone sitting on the executive leadership team of a corporation, or the cabinet of a government, with the responsibility for ensuring long-term strategy and short-term actions are in alignment with a larger view of the organization. This Business Focalizer would have the responsibility to continually look ahead, envisioning a world that could be, while holding the corporation accountable for making appropriate decisions consistent with this long-term view.

In some organizations, the Human Resource executive might hold this responsibility, yet I envision something even greater. While it grows out of the organizational leadership development aspects of that position, it goes even further by instilling a spiritual aspect into how a corporation behaves and conducts itself, establishing a common identity for the organization with a sense of values to guide it’s conduct. From this common set of values, the Business Focalizer would have the basis to hold the organization accountable inside it’s own value system – a formidable responsibility that would infuse a strong sense of spirituality and responsibility into large corporations and world governments.

This idea draws on a more ancient view of an organization where there is a medicine worker, a shaman or a spiritual leader in indigenous cultures. The Business Focalizer balances the leadership team by bringing the perspective of spirit to balance the otherwise emotional, thought-based and results driven consciousness of the organization – much like the shaman does. This allows for the organization to become a whole “person”, enabling it to have a “soul” with a greater purpose.

The role of Business Focalizer is vitally important in our evolving world where one order is coming to an end, while another is beginning to emerge. As the situation grows more dire, our natural tendency is to look backwards for an indication of the actions to take as we hold too tightly to the way things used to be. At this time, however, the answer is not behind us but before and ahead of us.

It is a bold idea that works within our current infrastructure rather than the radical upheaval of a revolution, with the great responsibility that allows our world to evolve from the self-centered, myopic, and short-term, living for today, that has brought us to this profound moment in time where we have the opportunity to take a significant step into the future or a fateful step back into the past.


Cottage Industries in a Village Community

While the tops down approach of rewilding our governments and corporations is a necessary step on the path to achieving a sustainable existence. It is not enough. We also need individual actions. We must actively participate if the change we desire is to manifest.

We have become a culture of use and discard, where we produce a lot of disposable, low quality items and then use them just a few times. It is a system out of balance where we simply produce too much stuff that is trashed too quickly. There is no regard for where those things go when we are finished with them. Out of sight is out of mind.

The solution would seem to be consuming less and utilizing products longer; resulting in less production, but of a much higher quality. One way to do this is through less mass manufacturing and more individual production. There is an opportunity for people to invest their passion in doing what they love and producing a high quality product worthy of a much longer life. These cottage industries would produce merchandise that people truly value and enjoy owning.

Along the way, personal relationships are built and our experience is enriched. The dressmaker buys bread from the local baker and produce from a local farmer. Soon, a village community of cottage industries is supporting the local economy from the bottom up.

This cottage industry, village community approach is not limited to small, rural regions of the world; it can work as effectively in an urban neighborhood. Individual effort can drive change as these ideas take hold and naturally begin to grow. We already are what we desire to be.

The seemingly small action of living authentically and purposefully will sustain us all.


A View From The Mountaintop

On the eve of his untimely death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the prophetic words, “I've been to the mountaintop. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” Dr. King’s promised land was a vision that he held with determination regardless of whether it would be realized in his own lifetime.

The physical world today is not well with the environment damaged and our institutions and infrastructure outdated. We need radical new ideas – coming from a higher consciousness. It’s a spiritual solution where we respect our home on this planet – in harmony, not domination and with a long-term view considering our legacy. Liberation comes in realizing that all things are one thing and the solution is in integration, not a singular revolution. It’s an evolution as we embrace the world as it is and change from within.

The nature of consciousness can be described as a movie reel, where there are multiple frames with a space between each – much like a series of “on” and “off” switches. We have the tremendous opportunity in each of these “off” switches to shift our perception and dream an entirely different reality. As attitudes and outlooks begin to shift, old institutions and ideas that no longer serve us begin to fall away and new, productive, efficient systems and institutions begin to emerge which will carry us into the future.

I envision a holistic and integrated solution where our economy relies less on mass consumerism and more on services that enrich our experience; corporations and governments are reorganized as "living" beings with a "soul"; and we each individually live from our purpose, creating cottage industries organized in village communities.

Just imagine, we have the potential in our lifetime to realize the dreams of those great visionaries from the 1960s – and even more.

You might say I’m a dreamer … but I’m not the only one.