Resilience is Fertile

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Tompkins Weekly 06/17/2013

By Joe Bish and Bob Rossi

Resilience is fertile – a simple statement that highlights a path to prosperity.  I first heard it from a colleague of mine in The Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network (The SEEN).  The SEEN is a growing community of local and regional businesses, organizations, and individuals engaged in a holistic approach to business and community engagement.  Rather than measuring success exclusively on quarterly profits, our members are committed to helping nourish our community and natural environment through what is called a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.  Through our work, we strive to build resilience in our businesses and in our community.

This is the thrust of our June 27th event, at which Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will present on Ithaca’s sustainability agenda and how we can support our collective efforts to build a just and sustainable local economy.  This will be the SEEN’s first annual member meeting, and it is open to the public.  Together, we will explore what we need for our businesses to thrive and our community to be resilient against the perturbations in our global economy and climate.  We invite you to join us for a meaningful and enjoyable evening on Thursday, June 27th from 5:30pm to sunset at Stewart Park’s large pavilion.

“Resilience is fertile” is a playful twist on a phrase that was popularized through the Star Trek: Next Generation series.  Many episodes featured the Borg, a terrifying collective of cybernetic drones that share a single consciousness and follow a directive to conquer and assimilate other life forms.  In combat they would repeat in an eerie monotone, “Resistance is futile.”

Admittedly, for those of us practicing global awareness these days, taking strides towards a bona-fide sustainable living scenario can seem futile.  We know, for example, that carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere just zoomed past 400 parts per million.  We know the discomforting truth that just 1% of the planet’s population controls 39% of all wealth.  We know that global youth unemployment has risen thirty percent since 2007 and now stands at roughly 311 million – nearly equal to the population of the whole United States.  None of this bodes well for our global economies, societies, and ecosystems – all of which must find a way to accommodate over a million more people every five days, based on current global population growth.

Despite these real and monumental challenges confronting the planet, we who are living in and around Tompkins County cannot afford to fall into a malaise.  While we must respect these troublesome global trends, we can’t live in fear of them.  We can’t give up and decide that action really is futile.  Rather, we have to remember that resilience is fertile.

Resilience is most fertile when built holistically and with broad support.  That is why we’re thrilled to have event sponsors spanning the finance, farming, healthcare, and retail sectors of our economy.  Home Green Home is a large retail showroom on the Ithaca Commons that offers a variety of goods supporting a healthy and ecologically-conscious lifestyle.  Sea Change Family Chiropractic, located on Cliff Street in Ithaca, offers chiropractic care as well as workshops and webinars to help people make informed healthcare decisions.  Ithaca Hours – the oldest and largest local currency system in the United States – promotes local economic strength and community self-reliance.  The Candor Farmers Market runs from 3pm to 7pm every Thursday in the Town of Candor and is further proof that there are many farmers and artisans throughout the region producing delicious and nutritious food, high quality arts, and useful crafts.  We’d like to thank Home Green Home, Sea Change Family Chiropractic, Ithaca Hours, and the Candor Farmers Market for their support in sponsoring this inaugural SEEN member meeting.

Come be a part of it!  Tickets are available at $10 for SEEN members and $15 for the general public.  Ithaca Hours are welcomed, and scholarships are available upon request.  On Thursday, June 27th, expect a relaxing and enjoyable evening with a beautiful view of Cayuga Lake and delicious food provided by Dancing Turtle.  Contact for more info.

Joe Bish is the Program Director of the SEEN.  Bob Rossi is the Green Resource Hub board president.

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