Collaboration: The Key to a Sustainable Future

What does sustainability mean to you? I look at sustainability from a wholistic perspective that includes social systems, food systems, communities, education, healthcare, relationships, politics, family, clothing, building materials, water, music and art. It is a viewfinder; a way of not only seeing, but being in the world.

My wife, daughter and I have traveled extensively, interviewing nearly fifty different people from all over the country about sustainability: politicians from Washington, DC, organic farmers in Portland, Oregon, self-reliance experts in Austin, Texas, educational institutions in Arizona and many others. We organized the interviews into a thirteen episode online documentary series called The Search for Sustainability, which received over 150,000 views in three weeks. To our knowledge it was the first documentary to bring together all of these varied and important facets of sustainability into an organized and practical format for inspiring and educating all of us how to live more sustainably.

I also had the opportunity to visit the incredibly green-conscious country of Costa Rica, with funding help from the Visionary Ethics Foundation. There I was able to conduct another twenty- five interviews in every corner of the country, vastly expanding my knowledge about sustainability. One of the commonalities I observed in the US and Costa Rica is that while there are many small pockets of people working toward a greener, more sustainable future, they are not necessarily working together.

While various organizations and leaders may have met, or at least know of each other, more often than not, they do not collaborate or organize co-creative projects together. We often end up in our own little corner working toward our goal, focused on accomplishing our mission. Personal achievement is ne, but in order to attain greater impact in the world, expand our reach and help more people in a shorter amount of time, we have to learn to collaborate.

e reality is competition is not sustainable, but collaboration is. When organizations, schools, activists, leaders, communities and families come together to work toward a common goal and support each other, they not only multiply their reach and their resources, they also multiply their ability to share tasks, increase productivity, improve impact, and so much more.

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