“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,…”  William Shakespeare

 

Now that there’s been some time to heal from my face plant, it’s time to face the future with a
fresh set of eyes. It’s time to reassess our past attempts and revitalize the project with a fresh coat of paint. What worked? What didn’t?  What do we need to do to succeed?  So here goes.

As Shakespeare says, we all have roles to play, in our present and in building our future.
There are those who come into our lives, play major roles, and then leave.  But their presence
lends flavor to the lives we experience while they are here and after they are gone.  Such is the same with places, and projects.  

Sustainability is much the same way.  Most people look at as “an earthy crunch thing.”  Economists are now looking at it terms of financial security.  Others look at it as a question of survival. They are all right, in part.  When we asked the school children what sustainability meant, most of their replies were environmental, but the one that we’ve adopted is all-encompassing; “whatever it takes to keep living here.”  That really opened my eyes to some new questions that needed addressing, within myself, and within our program.

“Here,” is a relative thing, and for some it is easy to define. It is the space that we are occupying now. But space is relative.  If you are calling a person and announce “You’re here,” you are at their house, or their apartment. But you are also on their block, in their neighborhood, in their town, their state, their geographical region …..  That definition of “here,” depends upon how important we think we are.

But because of that relativity, I found myself talking about a region, but living like it was in my hometown. I got frustrated when people said “it was too far,” but then I didn’t want to go more than 3 miles from home. After all, I do have noon-time chores to do, so it is important that I be close to home, but it doesn’t have to be in my home town, just within a quick drive to check on the critters. So I’ve started looking elsewhere.

I knew that our business plan relies on the kitchen and the dog sports, yet those were items that we weren’t really able to address in our leased facility.  I know that the region needs the kitchen, and from our experience, I now know that there is also a need for sewing space.  The dog folks seem to be of the “I’ll believe when I see it,” mindset, which, while frustrating, is understanding.  I also recognize that the arts are very important, but cannot be the mainstay of the program, as people often enjoy looking at pieces, but don’t invest financially.  That enjoyment is vital, but so is paying the bills.

I am more aware now that we need to surround ourselves with people who actually see the vision of a truly sustainable region.  They need to understand that “what’s in it for them,” isn’t more important than “What’s in it for my neighbor?”   If we are truly shape a new approach to our economy, our planet and our community we need to step away from our own “self-investment,” and recognize the intrinsic value that comes from working with others to benefit others.

If I go back to Shakespeare’s stage, I realize that we’re past Act I in the creation of North Country Sustainability Center, Inc. We’ve identified our location, our themes, and some of our players.  Now on to Act II to learn how the players change and grow, and the theme comes to life.  Want to join me?

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