My personal interest lies largely in the areas where agriculture, food issues, immigrant issues, poverty, waste management, recycling, resource management, energy use, architecture, transportation, and education overlap.
Our general practices as a nation are not sustainable, mindful, or respectful to the environment or to each other. We could better honor the great resources available to us, and in doing so, better our lives by leaps and bounds. Often resources are taken for granted, squandered, misused, or wasted. People are also often taken for granted, misused, or undervalued. I believe that relearning the value of each other and of the land that sustains us – and cultivating a lifestyle based on those values – would benefit us all… more than we can readily imagine.
As a culture, as a whole, a mindset of disposability and disconnect has thrived and been tolerated. Although we are largely taught to value freedom and independence, in my opinion we have become overly free and independent in relation to our very real and indelible connections to each other and to the land, the planet, that sustains us. We sustain each other and the earth sustains us. To be in denial of this would be pure folly and delusion. No matter how much independence we might tout as a slogan, the food we eat is almost always due to the toil of another human being with their hands in the dirt of the earth. Independence is a fine ideal within proper bounds. Misused and overblown, it leaves us living in a nation, in a state, where many of us don’t know our neighbors, don’t know where our food was grown, don’t know where our trash is going, and we don’t care. This state of affairs is not only less than ideal. It is tragic.
As a nation I believe we are missing out on a gallant opportunity to live life much more fully, to enjoy more meaningful connections on a daily basis, and to sustain ourselves more deeply on all levels. The same “inconveniences” we resist are often the relaxing and productive practices that grounded and brought joy to our ancestors. Perhaps we just need to remember, to explore, the question of what is really important. The answer may surprise many of us. Maybe buying food in the grocery store on autopilot is not the most satisfying or healthy way to eat. Perhaps the safe haven of our home would be sweeter if we had the neighbors over for tea more often.
I would like to look at how to improve the relationship between the citizens of Providence and what sustains them… I would like to research and design for RE-connection and reintegration. Our natural way, as humans, is to provide, problem solve, and work as a team. I believe this is really what we all want deep down. When it comes down to it, without the earth, without respect, and without each other, few of us would survive. Even fewer of us would thrive. To thrive is not only to be alive, but to feel fulfilled and to live a life that has meaning. I hope to be a part of bringing meaning back into the lives of people who have found themselves in a state of disconnect. What better place to start, but literally, in our own back yard.