Posted: 8:04PM October 31st, 2016 | Comments
Growing up in a beautiful and diverse country such as Colombia, I was always amazed at how different ecosystems seem to coexist in a such a balanced way. As I learned more, I was truly intrigued by the different relationships between people and places and the deep connections communities form as they interact with their physical and social environments. These interactions, however, are never static; they are always in movement, shifting and adapting, many times in chaotic ways. Reflecting on my own journey, this sense of place and connection with nature and my community have shaped me deeply, whether it is in a big urban city like Bogota, a small rural town in Tennessee or an international community in Vancouver, Canada. Each place, each beginning, each beautifully chaotic, and many times challenging, experience has been transformative. This sense of belonging, that is constantly in transition, has taught me the immense value of strong communities that thrive in welcoming and healthy spaces and that are driven by just and inclusive economies. This is what sustainability is all about.
When I think about sustainability and what it makes it real and applicable to all of us, it helps me recognize and celebrate the multiple, complex and unique ways people from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, languages, genders and religions experience and envision a more sustainable place. There is no one single way or one single story. It is the combination of our multiple perspectives and lived experiences that make our road to a more welcoming, healthy and prosperous place for all, a rich and worthwhile journey. Together, we are all called to actively participate and be protagonists of what that vision looks like for our communities. And that is precisely what Sustain Dane believes and why they work tirelessly in partnership with local communities, organizations and other key actors in the region.
Now I have been lucky enough to be called part of the Sustain Dane team. As we move forward initiatives that seek to integrate that vision, I am constantly reminded of that journey. Madison is an ecological and social ecosystem itself that, just like the beautiful ecosystems in Colombia, is going through multiple transformations that are challenging the status quo. We are witnessing a growing activism by our communities of color to address the historical systems of oppression that have perpetuated inequality and hate. Many local business and organizations are joining efforts to advance a sustainable agenda that is more inclusive and environmentally responsible. There is a growing effort to reflect on what kind of city we want to be part of. However, It is important to recognize that there is still a long road ahead of us.
In that spirit, in my role as a Sustainable Neighborhoods Director, I look forward to actively listening and integrating our multiple voices towards a common goal: a sustainable Madison. What does that look like? Let’s all dream and work on that together.