I am a practical person. I think of myself as relentlessly realistic. I want to create change in the world, not visions in my head. I am constantly amazed, but increasingly convinced, that visioning is a tool for producing results. Olympic athletes use vision to make the difference between the superior performance their trained bodies can achieve and the outstanding performance their inspired vision can achieve. Corporate executives take formal classes in vision. All great leaders have been visionaries. Even the scientific, systems-analyst side of me has to admit that we can hardly achieve a desirable, sustainable world, if we can’t even picture what it will be like.
— Donella Meadows, “The Importance of Visioning, the Practice of Visioning,” reprinted in The Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999
This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.
— Wendell Berry, “Clearing”, 1974
(Cited by Donella Meadows in the Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999)
Under the topic “Sustainability,” you will find texts and artifacts related to a concept fundamental to “The Optimist Trilogy”: the ability of our way of life to continue into the future. Included in this category are related phrases such as “Sustainable Development,” “Resilience,” and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). Sustainability — what it means, how to do it, how to get there — is a central theme of all three books.
Note: the featured image is the Sustainability Compass, which I developed in 1997 as a conceptual tool for understanding the systemically integrated, and direction-setting, nature of sustainability as a concept. The Compass is described in book 2 of the Trilogy, The Sustainability Transformation, and in several other books and journals.