Monday, April 19, 2010

Sustainable Infrastructure and Diversity of Ideas

Sustainable Infrastructure - a tenuous term open to interpretation, struggling for meaning yet necessary by definition. Articles and conversations revolving around sustainable infrastructure are often centered around walkable communities, bike lanes, the colored past and bright future for electric cars, renewable energy, increased efficiency and locally grown food. The individuals who work with Greenleaf could be overheard talking about these topics with some regularity. However, these articles and conversations miss a key component for truly sustainable infrastructure, our knowledge infrastructure. I define knowledge infrastructure as the knowledge that we can easily access - the knowledge capital of our friends, family and community, our access to quality primary, secondary and post secondary education, and our ability to read and interpret information from outside sources including newspapers, books, the internet, etc.

Which is why I was excited to see an article in the NY Times Education section that highlighted the wealth of information made available, without cost, by some of the finest thinkers and institutions we have in the US. In order for us to create sustainable infrastructure and healthy communities we must continue to find solutions to the problems which we face. We must increase our diversity of ideas in order to find solutions unique to our problems, we must continue to learn and we must have the hard conversations. As individuals and as a country we need to invest in our Knowledge Infrastructure.

At Greenleaf we are concerned with food systems and healthy communities. If you are too check out this course from YALE, offered on mp3 in 60 minute sessions completely free. The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food.

1 comment:

  1. I rather think of sustainable infrastructure as technology - not just information. We can think of it as the "know how to organize ourselves, to provide for ourselves, that which we need to thrive".

    If we rely on unsustainable (global, beyond our control) systems to produce the food, clothing, shelter, education and health care we need - we are vulnerable. Access to information is great but change in the world comes from learning how to use that information to take control of our lives - to own the capacity to produce, for ourselves, what we need.