Renewable Life


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April 11, 2008

What does living a renewable life mean to you?

Spring is when nature shows us not only that she's alive and well, but completely renewed. We’re part of nature, so why not us, too? Of course we're physical beings, but we're also made of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual stuff. So how do we mirror nature's capacity for self-renewal?

The Challenge Network says that self-renewing natural systems feature "mutual support and reciprocity, no waste, no greed, and increasing diversity." As I thought of myself as part of, and dependent upon, my family, community, country, species, and planet, these principles seemed pretty important to me.

In 1968, John Gardner, founder of Common Cause and winner of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom, gave a lecture titled "Toward a Self-Renewing Society." He said:

The society capable of continuous renewal will be one that develops to the fullest its human resources, that removes obstacles to individual fulfillment, that emphasizes education, lifelong learning and self discovery.

Such a society will not just serve the individual but give him an opportunity to serve. When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless; they no longer feel rootless. Without allegiance and commitment, individual freedom degenerates into a sterile self-preoccupation.

What would it mean to be continually renewing ourselves? Does self-renewal depend on being part of nature, rather than apart from it? Is it linked to social renewal? Does meaningful renewal also depend on sustaining our communities, the human species, and planet Earth?

As John Gardner suggests, do we actually have a responsibility to live a renewable life? What would make you happy and keep you happy? How do you define fun? Are happiness and health connected?

What does living a renewable life mean to you? Explore this rich question at LearningLife's Spring Fest on May 17, 2008.

Add your voice! Give us your thoughts and we'll use them (anonymously, unless you say otherwise) in a multimedia collage to inspire and connect us on Fest day and beyond.

Thank you!