"The shortest distance between a person
and their truth is their story"

Michale Gabriel
Antioch OSR
Guest Faculty - 2002

This website is an invitation for its readers to delve into their own truths as they relate to the sustainability of our home, the Earth. It is intended to assist in the emergence of the latent reverence in each of us. An underlying belief is that no matter how severe or urgent our problems appear, it is our appreciation for life that motivates the will to do the work and make the life changes necessary to live within the Earth's capacity to renew, cleanse and heal.

This website began as a book conceived around two constructs, ‘Archetypes for Sustainability' and ‘Epochs of Sustainability: The Curve of Hope', found in Section IV and VI respectively. The constructs are quite mechanical. The website, and the approach we've taken in its development are intended to bring them to life.

If you choose to use this site as a workbook, it is recommended that you begin with the Introduction and follow the sequential order of Sections and Chapters shown in the Table of Contents. We ask that you:

  1. Read each chapter.
  2. Reflect on what the ideas mean in your life. Do you agree? Disagree? Does it prompt any new thinking?
  3. Respond to the questions at the end of each chapter. The journaling you do may be private or, if you choose, made available to others in our community of users.
  4. Participate in the community with your reflections, comments and links to other websites and material you feel is relevant.

Section Descriptions

Section I - ‘The Game of Life' - For many people there is a resistance to change, particularly transformational change, for it requires the questioning of a cultural norm and/or deep belief. But this sort of change, transformation, is necessary if we are to once again live within the capacity of the Earth to support us. This section eases us into a paradigm shift of living our lives in such a manner that cooperation becomes a stronger trait than competition, and addresses three cultural norms that inhibit making the shift but are not too difficult to overcome.

Section II - ‘Guiding Principles' - The common fabric that binds great leaders, enlightened citizenry, and our most meaningful actions is woven with principles and ethics. This section focuses on a) recognizing this fact, b) processes for surfacing our principles, and c) their application in every day life.

Section III - ‘Transformative Learning' - A principle from Section II is that every situation is an opportunity to learn. This section shares the learning that a) most influenced this workbook, b) invites each reader to make it their learning also, and c) encourages the reader to make their seminal learning available to our ‘learning community'.

Section IV - ‘Mapping the Territory' - More than any other chapter, ‘Archetypes for Sustainability' is the genesis for this workbook. Hopefully, each reader will be able to discern both the archetype(s) that best fit who they are and who they wish to be, as well as gives some insight regarding how they might be part of individual and collective change.

Section V - ‘Shamanic Wisdom' - There is little doubt for me that there is learning to be done by and from each of the four archetypes, and the most important learning if we are to become sustainable, resides in the ‘Indigenous Perspective'. It is Shamanic Wisdom, that is most important, yet it is least valued in our culture. This section looks at why it sometimes touches us so deeply, yet we continue to undervalue it, and how the Indigenous connection with Nature and all of life through custom, ceremony and language is the source for this exceptional wisdom.

Section VI - ‘The Curve of Hope' - ‘The Curve of Hope' construct has embedded in it a plan, as well as the authenticity that comes with being clear about the magnitude and urgency of our sustainability problems. Most importantly, it defines our opportunity for ‘exponential improvements' - five categories of transformational changes that are our source of hope, and to one degree or another, are currently being implemented.

Section VII - ‘Living the Ecozoic Era' - Using the ‘Appreciative Inquiry' process, this last section is intended to help the reader synthesize their reflections and learning to become a more significant, fulfilled player in re-achieving sustainability.

If there are only certain portions of the workbook that are of interest to you, please feel free to participate as fully as you wish. Our hope and intent is that we will become co-creators in an appreciative, ethically based journey of social and ecological harmony. Thank you for your participation.

Milt Markewitz

Please click here to Register, or go directly to The Book.


Copyright © 2008 Appreciative Sustainability: A Workbook and Online Community for Co-Creating Our Sustainability Ethic. All Rights Reserved.
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