004 – Steven Putter–Sustainable Community

This is a great ‘first half’ of a podcast with Steven Putter about community.

Steven is doing some fascinating work in Zambia in community development and has a very interesting take on community and sustainability.

Some of his points are:

1. We can be concerned with only ourselves, or with our families, but there are simple ways that we can concern ourselves with a greater circle. “My own personal security is only equal to the security of the whole.” The same with abundance and resources, etc. Gated communities are passe and are not a long-term solution!

2. We must take a ‘species view’ of the planet (at least) because a nationalistic view is outdated and destructive.

3. In sustainability values –> Vision.

4. Systems must consider this ‘species’ view when changing something (something that political and aid organizations do not).

5. The future of education, it’s measurements of success and why standardized tests are not that measure (self-sustainability after schooling is).

6. In our society, job opportunities = self-sustainability opportunities. However, 50% of grad students have no job or PT job in our current system. Many people are falling through the cracks (not becoming self-sustainable after schooling). We must educate for other paradigms. We are limited to just one now. Fascinating idea here, can he be educated to sustain himself on a small piece of land if he does not fit into the industrial landscape?

7. Most people *are* sustaining themselves now, which is why conversations about the topic often fall on deaf ears. We can’t ask people ‘leave your sustainability or go into sustainability’. We are asking people often to do more work to have the same life, and that won’t work.

8. How his family achieved sustainability and what that was like. The moved into a tent off the grid for a while year, leaving the house and cars and everything behind. However, this is not an easy path… “It’s not easy all of the sudden to create hot water from a compost heap instead of the tap…fetch water, make fire for coffee for breakfast….” But, he says, “For me it is about starting the transition from where you are now in the community that you are now.”

9. The work of transition specialists.

10. How we can grow food no matter where we are. Literally billions in food savings is possible.

11. Why leading through example is the best way to become sustainable.

12. Experts <--- INFORMATION ----> Your biological situation.

13. How self-knowledge is important for this process.

14. Why ‘sacrifice’ and a shift in perception is necessary.

15. How to raise the quality of life outside cities so that pressure of urban areas is reduced.

16. Why considering human needs and desires is important for finding equilibrium with the environment.

Bio: Steven Putter is a sustainable development strategist for health, nutrition and economic empowerment, with the focus on rural communities.

Steven currently holds the position of President/Executive Director of Imagine Rural Development Initiative in Zambia. IRDI works to empower people and communities toward sustainable and environmentally-sound development through the provision of resources and skills training to improve livelihoods and enhance access to quality nutrition, water, shelter, education, health, information technology and equitable income-generating opportunities, thereby eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

 

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