Donella Meadows taught us that visions of desired futures “come from commitment, responsibility, confidence, values, longing, love, treasured dreams, our innate sense of what is right and good”.
Creating new visions of sustainable and just futures will require us to move past all the negative predictions and business-as-usual planning. Not that we should disregard the warnings, but rather that we see the projections based in present-day activities as opportunities to make change. Creating meaningful change requires us to be bold – to create visions with passion, emotion, and conviction. We also need to be risk takers – acknowledging that we won’t necessarily have the answers or processes in place to begin implementation nor guaranteed success. This lack of guaranteed success can make the effort of creating a positive/desired vision hard to do, especially as there is so much to be concerned about in our world. But in creating environmentally healthy and socially just communities we need to bravely, and collaboratively, face our despair for what is wrong and state clearly what we desire for our futures. We may not get the actions right the first time, but the positive vision will guide us towards new paths.
Joanna Macy and Chris Johnston in their new book Active Hope remind us that we don’t have to be optimistic or be assured of a particular outcome to take actions for change. “Active Hope is about becoming active participants in bringing about what we hope for” even when facing the reality that we may not be totally successful. We need to fly in the face of ‘being realistic’ and be boldly visionary.
The world and all beings need us each to be visionary leaders, in our ways, even small ways. And when you align with other visionaries it gets joyful.
Look for ways to create fun and playfulness in the actions. My friend, and community artist, Paula Jardine amazes me with her ability to create parades and beautiful events for our community, on hard issues like a death in the family or salmon habitat loss, that bring people together in loving, joyful ways with live musicians, storytellers, lanterns, and tea in real teacups. And the DePave Portland folks work hard, but seem to be having lots of fun. http://depave.org/work/depaved/
Sustainability can be fun!