Figure 1: Movement Model of Behavior

According to my Native wisdom heritage, recognition of ancestors who’ve prepared the path of life for us must be acknowledged. My teachers and mentors inspired me to be the best I could be. Our relationships can include those with those who have gone before and those yet to come. Honoring and acknowledging those on whose shoulders we stand, connecting and communicating with our past and future, are fundamental practices of sustainable development. Me, you, we are all a bridge between the ancestors and those yet to come. Figure 1 shows HOW we may become the best we can be. Simply put, start anywhere you feel comfortable, and move. This works for organizations, as well.

It has become clear to many, that humans must choose a path of mitigation and adaptation to increasing environmental volatility triggered by the pathway of debt, depletion and distraction—on which industrial civilization has trod to date. Mitigation and Adaptation are simply a set of responses, to the forces humans have set in motion plus those forces naturally in motion. Restoring and repairing that which has been degraded and actively and quickly seeking preferred future visions for targeted collective policy adoption, i.e., culture, is an example of double loop learning.

But, how do we get everyone on-board and headed in the right direction? I see it as similar to the starlings murmuration we see swooping across the sky. Are they joined together through a collective dancing-flying-mind? Or, are they like humans, taking cues from their nearest social circles or media channel. Either way, research shows us that inspiration, is more receivable—better at creating action, than information, or a doom-and-gloom approach. Pessimism may be real, but causes paralysis, and we are not any closer to proactive adaptation. The murmuration of the starlings perfectly choreographed could be our model for action.

Double Loop Learning Wheels
Figure 2: Double Loop Learning for Individuals and Organizations

Take a look at Double Loop Learning in Figure 2, to see how humans can move away from old habits and culture. Start at the bottom and move towards the top. Can you place your life on the wheel? Where are you on these two paths? Where is the gap between your current life and a more sustainable lifestyle? How can our government and corporate citizens begin using these models for decision-making?

I hope to shine a light on sustainability through stories of individuals, ideas, and positive futures, in a way that the reader will be inspired to learn, integrate and move along their own sustainable path, on which, it seems, these islands have re-embarked. It’s been exciting witnessing the speed and innovations that have arisen since I began advocating and producing social improvement projects in the islands. Each year, islanders seem to be advancing further, leading and expanding the event horizons of sustainable development potential. There is more to communicate, to connect and to converge towards, and this column will attempt to assist in that movement.

In my observations, everything “built out there,” all of it, began between the ears and within the human form. Since, I believe humans greatest power is the Power of Choice, then we have the power to consciously choose a sustainable future, in each moment. It isn’t out there waiting to be practiced, yet. It begins inside, waiting to be discovered and chosen—first. This is why I assert sustainability begins within. What do you think?

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After 22-y of self-funding social improvement projects, Rob holds a diversified career portfolio of social purpose start-ups. Whether it is decreasing entropy, building community resilience, giving voice-to-the-voiceless, or making visible-the-invisible, his teams envision, innovate, and demonstrate community improvements, through inspiration, education, lean action and community synergy, using both local and global campaigns, focused in the areas of conservation, agriculture, and energy innovation. He has been an observer, participant and social philanthropist in the fabric of the islands, via for-benefit, for-profit and faith networks. He has a Master’s degree with distinction in Sustainable Development Leadership from Hawaii Pacific University. He is a co-founder of a new social start-up, Workforce Wingmen and public speaker for Forte Speakers Hawaii. Change agent, strategic sustainability advisor, and inspirational public speaker, his audiences span Hawaii's business, government, and educational organizations. Combining a friendly approach, a professional curiosity, and downbeat humor, in his presentations, shift happens. At HawaiiReporter.com, he writes about science, climate change, spirituality, and sustainability systems, and how these scale to social improvement.