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Paradigm Shift for a Successful Future

We must be the change we want to see.

December 10, 2009
Commentary contributed by Maury King · Kīhei

For example, there are a lot of people involved in the sustainability movement. I know most of them. We all show up at the same meetings, sometimes preaching to the choir about things we all agree on.

Where are the rest of us?

Some of us in the movement are sanctimonious, knowing that we are right about the need to begin addressing our future in a new way (try gaining converts with that approach).

I have learned a lot about a possible future we might have if we don’t make big changes. We will run out of oil someday and need to power our world—especially our islands—differently. And beyond the oil issue is the simple idea that we cannot keep taking everything we need from the Earth with no regard to what will be left for future generations. Considering where we live and the way Hawaiians lived—“nuf” said about that.

But those people I see at all the meetings are still a tiny minority. When I move around Maui, I notice all those that I don’t see at sustainability meetings. I struggle just a little about making them wrong for not knowing about these important issues, but quickly realize they are just people with busy lives that haven’t taken the same path I have.

What will it take to reach a lot more people, in a respectful manner, that doesn’t insult or intimidate them? What will it take to reach people that are in denial about there being any problem at all? What will it take to get people thinking that we might not always be able to depend on tourism for our economy? That locally grown food is healthy for us and for the planet and should be plentiful and affordable. That it is important to think about the population of the planet—especially on fragile islands. That the gas guzzler we own today might make life harder for our kids tomorrow. That supporting local businesses is more important in the future, as keeping currency flowing inside a system—and not shipped off to a corporate office—will make a huge difference toward a local economy staying healthy.



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