By Audrey Brinkers, Campus Garden Initiative Coordination

The advancement of mankind was rooted in connections.  Connections between villages allowed for trade; connections between people allowed for relationship; connections with the land allowed for agriculture.  Connections across the globe via planes, trains, and automobiles allowed for industrialization, and connections among great minds allowed for alarming technologies in every field imaginable.


The downfall of our dear earth might also be rooted in connections.  Connections across states brings roadways, degradation, and pollution; connections among politicians brings negative bills and laws; connections between large corporations brings harm to the economy and the environment.

But sustainability also stems from this idea of connecting between people, ideas, passions, and knowledge.  We share ideas, accomplishments, and goals for the future.  We can connect globally for the one thing we all share and want to ultimately protect, and we can use these connections for advancements in sustainability, for accountability, and for improvement.

Connections for the sake of sustainability are already being made–for example, phenology (the study of periodic life events in nature) gardens are popping up all over the country and the world, allowing researchers to compare the ways in which climate change is altering varying ecosystems (see above).  A new “open-source, online hive” has been established so that interested individuals can help track bee populations in hopes of reversing colony collapse.  And, highly pertinent to our lovely office, folks on college campuses everywhere are talking about how we might get students interested in and motivated about sustainability.



3 thoughts on “Connections

  1. It really is amazing how intricately connected our world is; only in the recent past have humans started to see these connections. And although I agree there are downsides to this (concentration of wealth and power, primarily), I think those of us in sustainability are in the right position to find a good balance. With knowledge being transferred instantaneously, we can all learn a lot from each other. I think we need to keep making connections between different disciplines and different communities in order to develop a sustainable future.

  2. Audrey,

    The interconnectedness of our world also shows in an academic setting. I feel there is a growing trend in interdisciplinary studies, branching from the human to human studies and out into the natural world around us. I find it especially useful when thinking about modern evolution and society. Even with sustainability, it’s difficult to understand without the connections to science, psychology, and human behaviors. Thank you for highlighting such an interesting and all-encompassing topic.

  3. I agree that connections are an excellent theme. Like tools, we can use them wisely or otherwise. Globalization of the economy, in my opinion, has stressed or broken human connections, especially connection with our natural world. We have devalued our connections with nature because we have come to see natural resources as commodities rather than priceless treasures, rather than our human heritage.

    With those broken connections have come great human suffering and unsustainable societies, I believe. As you said, Audrey, we humans are quite resilient and are forming new connections, and re-establishing old connections with the earth of which we had not been sufficiently aware. And there are connections developing in the current college-age generation that were not as evolved forty years ago. There are many signs of progress. While there will be serious prices to pay for the excessive human exploitation of our world, including our unsustainable over-population, new connections are emerging. We are connecting the dots, and joining in inspiring efforts to work together for a healthier and saner world.

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