Getting Consumed By Sustainability

By Thursday, May 29, 2008 2 0

How do we sustain ourselves as we work on sustainability? There is so much work to do, how do we keep from being just another group of American workaholics, set apart only by a bigger vision and slightly different consumption patterns?

It’s 3:49 a.m. as I’m writing (I have insomnia). My upcoming day, my recent days, and entire upcoming summer all look packed with the Governor-backed initiative I am leading to reduce commute trips. Blogging itself, while I love it, is a huge time-commitment. (Would I even have time for it if I didn’t have insomnia?) My husband, who directs the nation’s leading renewable energy program, would tell you his schedule is permanently packed, like mine.

Our schedules are consumed with wonderful work we feel honored to be doing. But I can feel US getting consumed. Are we doing the work, or is the work doing us?

Back when I was a counselor I would have counseled a couple like Thor and me to “set limits and form boundaries”. I would have asked about our social lives, and our outdoor lives and exercise habits, and our spiritual disciplines, and whether we were eating nutritious food.

Humorously, all those things are in place in my household. Our being consumed isn’t about lack of balance, but about the intensity we feel for our work. The sustainability mission is like having a lover, one we can’t get enough of. This lover pulls us in and satisfies us deeply, but can also leave us spent and gasping. Needing renewal. Needing sustainability.

Hmm. You know, I felt consumed and tired when I started to write this post, as if I had nothing to offer anyone. But now I feel full again. Traveling mentally into the passion behind my hard work seems to have changed my brain/body chemistry back to normal.

This clearly isn’t the end of my problem of getting consumed by sustainability. But it’s also clear to me that renewal can happen at almost any time, leaving me kissed by grace.

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  • Alison
    October 17, 2008

    Amanda, Thanks for your kind words. I think there are LOTS of us committed to a better way — but our voices are just not the loudest in this culture.

  • Amanda
    May 30, 2008


    Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog & especially love this post. I really admire your work and passion. Just wish more people on this side of the country would catch on!