I am writing after the Japanese Tsunami, the upset in Madison, the revolution in Egypt, and many other newsworthy events. It is a time of questioning and a time of “upset” I am sure, to most of us and we all have to integrate new fears, like the potential for Nuclear Fall-Out from the power plants in Japan, and the obvious effect of our Earth’s changes on us all. Gas prices are up again, and some of the unusual weather has cancelled crops in many places. The “local food movement” like the “good food movement” seems to be expanding, as customers come to us from many communities wanting to be more self-sustaining.
At a recent Workforce Meeting in Durango, Colorado, I heard Kerry Petranak say that “Businesses create jobs, not government programs, etc.” I was struck by the truth of this and the importance of small businesses in America. With the current stronghold of big corporations on politics and modern life (food and seed production for example) the need for independent voices are apparent as well as the need for new kinds of creativity.
At Growing Spaces, we have always been considered “alternative” in our values and our business culture and I wonder if someday these could become main stream? Like so many in our generation, Udgar and I were experimenting to find sustainable alternatives to some of the limitations of the industrial era. But new paradigms are always invisible until a Tipping Point occurs and then suddenly, the new idea that has been lost to most people becomes a “way” in the world. Our own business focus has been helped by the courageous and generous mission of people who are visible, like First Lady Michelle Obama, Jamie Oliver, and Will Allen.
Before these were known by modern media, many creative people like my husband, Michael Udgar Parsons, invented and tested ideas or products for decades in an attempt to create a sustainable world. Our own journey included turning a desert wasteland on a 64,000 acre ranch into a thriving intentional community after only four years of experimenting in how to “renew” natural conditions after over-grazing destroyed them. We learned there that the concerted effort of a group could create miracles.
The deep renewal of life-affirming values motivated the folks from the Windstar Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute in the Roaring Fork Valley, where we were raising our son in the eighties, were similar. Even then, Rodale Institute, the pioneers, and many other organizations educated and informed the public of our need to shift the way we live inside nature’s blessings. Al Gore, and others made the big picture facts of science known and many more presented the alarming facts of our environment’s degradation.
In 1979, “Leadership and the New Science “came out by Margaret Wheatley. I was enthralled; as she integrated the creative process understood in the new science of quantum physics into the work place and spoke about the need to be open systems that allowed for the chaos necessary for a new emerging future. Years later, I was a conflict-resolution consultant to companies like Shell Oil, Hewlett Packard and Procter and Gamble when they began to lay off people who had had a lifetime expectation for employment. In those days, the attempt to teach deeper communication through conflict resolution techniques was sabotaged by a corporate structure that canceled and feared “empowerment” on the plant floor, even after it was achieved through our efforts. I learned quickly that change had to be systemic and universal before it would be successful. One had to work with business Leaders first, if the system were to become innovative and new. Many employees who quit or were fired as they realized their authentic voices, went on to become innovators like me, starting small ventures where they could really live their values and create alternatives.
Change can only come out of waking up to new awareness and moving from new recognitions.
One such place this is obvious in is the regulatory agencies of various towns and neighborhoods that have not yet shifted into the understanding of our need for local food and/or sustainable alternatives in buildings and infrastructure.
Yesterday, as usual, someone visited on a Saturday from a remote Mountain town in Colorado. She represented “the community at large” and her interest was to create a community garden. She spoke of how the city officials are “not as aware of the people,” of the need to create local food sources. We are often in this mix and have heard her story before. In fact, for 22 years now, we have the conversation with regulators in opening eyes to new possibilities and the truth of the engineering strength and benefits of our Growing Domes. City officials are slowly shifting their paradigm to include such an unusual shape in their neighborhood or town.
The movement for sustainability is largely driven by the grass roots people, a groundswell of folk who are ready to take action for their quality of life. Our mission to provide an optimum indoor eco-system for completely natural year-round gardening and retreat, without reliance on electricity or fossil fuels, is needed in this time. It always was, but now it is still becoming “recognized.”
I wonder if this means there is a paradigm shift in how we are holding our existence?
I am always inspired by the words of Thich Nhat Hanh who said, “All things depend on all other things for their existence.” Take, for example, this leaf. Earth, water, heat, sea, tree, clouds, sun, time, space….all these elements have enabled this leaf to come into existence. If just one of these elements was missing, the leaf could not exist. All beings rely on the law of dependent co-arising. The source of one thing is all things.”
Puja Parsons, Co-Owner & CEO Growing Spaces