Friday June 4, 2010: Challenging sustainability: indigenous challenges and assumed notions.

When we in the Western world think about sustainability, we usually deal with  consumption and waste. we tend to focus on ways to reduce such consumption and yet, maintain our own privileges and comfortable lives (which prompt even more consumption …and waste). We end up in a never ending circle that doesn’t see any end. even when we try to find an answer in technologies (new types of fuels that will allow us to move freely without having to renounce our cars, new technologies that reduce e-waste and the impact they have on  those countries to which we like to ship out electronic waste), we usually end up creating more trouble (corn and soy anyone?)

Seldom are we reflecting on reflecting on ancestors’ traditions, indigenous knowledge, or just revisiting our notion of comfort, cleanliness and our conceptions of “use.” The first two presenters were a case in point. while Deborah McGregor illustrated the important message of change that indigenous knowledge deliver and underlined the need for its adoption within Canadian sustainability legislation, Zainub Varjee focused her attention on the role and the significance of primary resources (wtare, gas, etc..) in our urban environments. We have become so much accustomed to them, that we have come to take such precious resources for granted. Focusing on “water” in the urban environment, Varjee looks at how its use in the very urban environment has led to a number of conceptual assumptions that inevitably cause a number of issues spanning way beyond the city limits.