In essence, The Green Valleys is based on an idea, or more accurately a basic understanding. It is simply this: we cannot live beyond our means. This is the core of what sustainability means. We all understand this when we check our monthly bank balances, that we cannot spend more than we earn or else we will enter debt and be less able to meet the demands of the following month.
While we understand this on a personal level, many find it difficult to recognise that on a global level humanity is living beyond its means. Yet we see the effects of it daily, whether as increasing prices, environmental damage or social problems. The global picture seems too complicated, too large for an individual to have any effect or to take action to redress. We are daunted by the complexity of social systems, environmental systems and the global economy. Yet these incredibly complex systems are straining to grow beyond the natural resources on which they are based. In fact, they operate on the same fundamental premise as ourselves: we cannot live beyond our means. Furthermore, it is the division of these issues into separate problems and our efforts to tackle them independently that fails to deliver the desired, long term benefits. We must understand that these issues are intimately connected and that they must be solved together.
It is the model of sustainability, the concept of environment, community and economy supporting and benefitting from each other that we need to foster. Yet our decision makers concentrate on one aspect at a time. They solve an economic problem with no thought of environmental or social effects, a community problem without considering the economic and environmental impacts and try to tackle environmental problems without involving people or any thought of how it can be made to benefit the economy. There is a continued failure to make these links and to tackle all three aspects simultaneously, while recognising them to be all of equal importance.
We face many challenges at this point in human existence. We have social problems, environmental degradation and a stalled economy. We see our fuel and supermarket bills rise and our land, sea and air altered by our activity. We fear for our children in a future climate and wonder about the security of our jobs, the potential to lose our homes to flooding and whether the next generation will curse us for our excesses. We all know these issues, we see them on the news, hear our politicians discuss them, read about our scientists working to better understand them, yet we see the situation become worse and feel more and more helpless to act.
If our decision makers fail to act, how can we as individuals and communities?
The fact is we can, because we recognise the link between community, environment and economy. We see it in our towns and villages, discuss it in our pubs and shops and read it in our newspapers. We can act and we must act, as we are the experts when it comes to our little patches of Earth we call home. It is our focus, we value it, consider it of importance and we know its key aspects, its problems and its opportunities. We place ourselves at the heart of its environment, we understand its economy and are part of its community. This is something we share with all the people of the world – we all have somewhere we call home. This is our opportunity and one we can share and replicate, not just throughout our region, our nation or continent, but we can share it with all the citizens of the world.
Join us. Make a better future for your community.
Welcome to The Green Valleys.