elcome to our Sustainable Communities issue. I was introduced to the idea of sustainability five years ago at California’s Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, at a month-long work-study course that opened my eyes. We learned of many innovations underway, from transition towns to permaculture, biofuels and even humanure (yes it’s what you think, biosolids in a fertilizer near you). Our class designed and presented the first Esalen Sustainability Tour, for which I was honored to serve as lead guide. One tour highlight was a filtration system that cleaned the facility’s wastewater for reuse in the gardens, which yielded a substantial volume of produce for use in the institute’s kitchen. Today, Esalen continues to serve as a sustainability education leader in the region. Applications of the sustainability concept are making progress and entering mainstream America. In our local feature article, “Sustainability in Madison,” Sustain Dane Executive Director Jessie Lerner brings us up to speed on encouraging current trends in Madison being generated by area residents. I am inspired by how Madison is proceeding as a leading-edge city in addressing environmental and quality of life issues. A shout out also goes to neighboring Milwaukee for making the grade among a handful of U.S. cities designated as “biophilic” for its connections to nature and other forms of life. Similar honors go to New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland and San Francisco. Recently, I looked up the definition of sustainability. According to Wikipedia, it’s the endurance of systems and processes, with an organizing principle being sustainable development, including the four interconnected domains of ecology, economics, politics and culture. Appropriately, the new field of sustainability science is the study of sustainable development and environmental sciences. My intention here is to appeal to anyone not yet oriented to the essential need for sustainability in all good things, because every step up is both hopeful and inspiring. It all speaks to a new and more enlightened age of human priorities, including in the areas of urban planning and industrial development. I wish to elaborate a bit further on the Biophilic Cities Project, which to date includes 15 cities worldwide, including Milwaukee. Organizers explain on BiophilicCities.org that the principal aim is to advance biophilic cities through collaborative research, dialogue, and exchange teaching. Erich Fromm first used the term biophilic to describe “a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital.” Natural Awakenings delights in presenting a new product, Extreme Kleaner, a 100 percent biodegradable, nontoxic, multipurpose cleaner, in our Product Spotlight. Please enjoy all the Natural Awakenings news this month and keep coming back. Sustainably yours,
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Natural Awakenings South Central WI October 2014