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Digging Deeper: Announcing the formation of the Sustainable Renton Study Group

I’ve been studying environmental issues for over 10 years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to truly solve the issues we face, a deeper understanding is needed. I have come to believe that all the issues we face – environmental, economic, energy and many more are all interrelated. These problems are parts of a systemic crisis, and the roots of this crisis need to be better understood. To this end I propose a Sustainable Renton Study Group.

I envision this group to be run under democratic principles. We will go where the group members feel we must as we learn more. We must have a starting point though, and for that I propose the Roots of Change curriculum from The International Society for Ecology and Culture. ISEC produced the film The Economics of Happiness, which we showed in December, but the film was cut short due to a blackout. I highly recommend you see the film, and we may show it later. In the meantime, here’s the film’s trailer:

Here’s a brief description of the ISEC curriculum:

Over the last 500 years, numerous, predominantly local and human scale societies have been transformed, becoming increasingly industrialized and globalized. In the process, both the distance between people and power, and the separation between production and consumption have grown. As a result, people have become increasingly alienated from each other and from the natural world. These broad, structural changes —and the forces that have animated them—are at the root of many of the crises we face. The first part of the Roots of Change curriculum (‘500 Years of Progress?’) unravels this history. In the process readers will be treated to a selection of powerful voices that question a number of widely-held assumptions about progress, growth, wealth, and development. The second half of the curriculum (‘Resistance and Renewal’) provides readers with a broad understanding of the steps needed at the local, national, and international levels to shift the world in a more sustainable direction. We have taken pains to showcase examples of resistance to the dominant order, as well as renewal, through brilliant ideas and initiatives that prefigure a much more humane, healthy, and happy future. For every critical exposé in the first section, we include in the second, new ideas and tangible, instructive, living solutions that will inspire. Where the curriculum ends, the journey of action begins.

I have all the materials we will need, there is no purchase necessary to be part of this group. I do highly recommend you support the work of ISEC through donating on their web site.

As we proceed through our studies, we may supplement, alter, or abandon the curriculum as needed. This course is only a starting point for what I hope will be an ongoing and enriching study group.

I also see this group as a means for mutual support. It is easy to get discouraged or overwhelmed when you understand the scope of the issues we face. As we grow closer together, we can lean on each other more and more for support to get through those tough times, and to celebrate the victories, large and small.

I understand that this group won’t be for everyone. But for those of us who are interested in digging to the roots of the problem, I think that this group will be a good place to start. Will you join me?

I have called for a first meeting on Saturday, February 15th at 10AM-Noon at the Sustainable Renton office – 970 Harrington Ave NE, Renton, WA. For more information about the group, please contact me at .

See you there!

Preston Glidden


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