By: Jessica Stavole, Energy and Built Environment Intern
“Hope is a part of the human condition”, said Col. Mark “Puck” Mykleby in his lecture at IU this past Tuesday, October 22nd, titled The Strategic Imperative for Sustainability. The former special advisor to the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Col. Mykleby has taken great strides over the past few years toward developing a National Grand Strategy at the Department of Defense. Focusing on three key areas where sustainability and economics intersect, he speaks of sustainability as an organism’s ability to remain diverse and productive over time.
In our day to day lives, we tend to be hyper-efficient creatures, doing more and consuming more without a thought of our long-term sustainability as individuals or as a society. In addition, we have built our society and past strategies upon the characteristics of threat and risk instead of opportunity and hope. The National Strategic Narrative is the first of its kind, addressing investment, security, economic development, the environment and engagement from a positive outlook.
When approaching our interconnected, globally engaged environment, it is critical to look towards nature as an example upon which to base our structure. We need to begin to focus on resilience, as nature places resilience into nearly everything it forms and everything that exists within it. Biomimicry, or the imitation of the models, systems, or elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems, is becoming a focal point for sustainable development and research. This method of development is one that we can and should begin to integrate into our national policies as well.
We live in a globalized, interdependent world that is more accurately defined by an open system rather than the accepted, closed system. The strategic ecology that the National Strategic Narrative adapts focuses on this open system and its so-called opportunity spaces. Instead of using force and power to have control over things, we, as a country, should direct our attention towards our strengths, utilizing them to develop both credibility and influence to ensure our national interests of prosperity and security.
Smart growth, growth that promotes both prosperity and security, can be accomplished by concentrating on three main opportunity spaces: walkable communities, regenerative agriculture, and productivity. Individuals need to take pride in the environment in which they live and focusing on the development of the three aforementioned categories is a wonderful place to start. We must take collaborative action towards developing a sustainable future for our country via the development of regional, economic clusters. If we are able to create a feedback loop for decision-making, we are more likely to attain the productivity and growth we desire. As Col. “Puck” Mykleby stated in his lecture,
“We cannot afford to have our greatest generation in the past”.
- To read “A National Strategic Narrative”: http://nationalstrategicnarrative.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/A-National-Strategic-Narrative.pdf
- To see a clip featuring Col. Mark “Puck” Mykleby speak on A National Strategic Narrative: http://embed.vidyard.com/share/2kKuk07gYnTaIb9v8nhc8Q