I hear this comment frequently, and while it is initially a very pleasant, it’s beginning to wear thin.
I’ve been thinking of the different definitions of “vision,” and no longer trust that is being used in a
complimentary way.

Steve Jobs had “vision,” when he started Apple and created wonderful tools such as the IPad and IPod.
Eagles have vision when they can see a tiny rabbit from 1000 feet up in the air.
But people have “visions” when they see mirages or hallucinate.
So what definition are they referring to at NCSC?

Steven Jobs’ vision was one that was shared by people like Steve Wozniak, who believed that computers could be designed with intuition in its function.  Jim Henson had vision when he created a puppet design that appealed to children, but with humor that parents could appreciate.  His vision was shared by many like Frank Oz, who saw the wonderful things that could be created if this vision became real. It’s pretty clear that those visions were successful, and have changed our worlds for the better.

Eagles have vision that allows them to survive. If you are a creature of the air, but vulnerable on the ground, as eagles and hawks are, then in order to survive you need to be able to see your prey from high altitudes, AND be able to catch it.  That type of vision allows them to hone in on their target with near laser focus.  It’s that determination, combined with immense skill, that allows them succeed and survive.

But while a “Vision” may be a hallucination for the mentally ill, they are by definition ailing. Only that patient sees that vision, and they stand alone in dealing with.  If it is to be successful it must be shared, and visible to others, and due to their ailment, that cannot happen.

Sustainability, as portrayed by North Country Sustainability Center, is a shared vision.  Though not all images of sustainability is the same for everyone, once people “fill in the colors,” of the entire NCSC picture, they can see it too.  We have a small corps of people who see it that NCSC vision, others believe they can see it, but it’s still faint.  But we have a large number of people who want to see it, and just need to get a little closer to make it come into focus.   We need people with different sets of talents, from fundraising and funders to those who can sit a desk and share their enthusiasm with others.

The NCSC is a tapestry, as I’ve described it in the past. Though some sustainability programs work beautifully with one focused program, in our region it will only be successful if we integrate many different needs into one vision of a sustainable community. That diversity makes it strong, as the “weave” is tighter with more participants, and the image is exciting because it’s vibrant and constantly growing.

Can you see our vision? Can you help make it happen? We’ll gladly share it with others once we prove it’s real, but we have to show that it’s not a dream.  Are you one of those who can see a future that’s positive? or do you need more proof? If that’s what you need, then be like the hawk and get closer to focus better. We’ll gladly let you in.  Thanks.

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