Recently, a friend asked me when I was going to become a real farmer again, hinting at my small backyard farm in comparison to my previously owned game farm. My answer to her was that being a farmer is not determined by acreage but by growing your own crops or raising livestock, regardless of method, location or space available. Her question was a clear indication of her worldview, as my response of mine.
We are mostly unaware of how our worldview influence our daily lives – how we approach and live our lives; how we make decisions; how we manage our environment and resources; whether we are consumers or conservers.
Our worldview had been deposited into our being together with the breast milk that sustained us the first couple of weeks of our physical existence. Subliminal, it lurks in the background of our mind, from there to rule and govern our thoughts, perceptions and actions.
Our connection to the land or lack thereof is determined by this elusive but powerful factor.
Sustainability rests on four pillars, namely cultural, social, environmental and economic factors. All of these in a society or community are based on the worldview held by the majority of that society or community. Established through many generations, these factors can seem fixed and unchangeable, even regarded as the only option and way of existence, especially when it is government or religion sanctioned.
As global situations more and more require sustainable living conditions for its population, governments and communities are faced with the challenge of adapting a new way of viewing and utilising the finite resources available. Unaware of the effect and influence, an inherent worldview of a population can hinder the initiation of sustainable living practices.
A lot can be learned from indigenous people groups and their understanding, experience and unique connection to the land. Cross-cultural exchange can open up new avenues to effective sustainable practices.
The call for sustainability requires the examination and redefinition of social, cultural, economic and environmental practices. The first step to a sustainable lifestyle is to recognise this need and the willingness to analyse and deconstruct the past, in order to create a new tomorrow. This can be a daunting, and at times, even a traumatic endeavour. It, however, only requires a few courageous men and women willing to scrutinize the foundations of the past, to raise up new structure able to carry alternate mindsets and practices. Once the groundwork is done the rest can follow.
May we each find our niche in this generation and time of transition, whether it is to deconstruct the past or reconstruct a new future.
©Copyright Micelle Coetsee 2015