One of the challenges for this project will be to define what we mean by social sustainability. Some claim it is not definable. We hope that the participants in the network will work with us to better characterize this, through conferences, blog posts, and comments on these.
There will likely be differences due to terminologies, experiences, and philosophies. But conversations, on-line and in person, will help us bridge these differences, and find elements we might agree upon (or agree to disagree!).
For me, the conversation is critical. And I look forward to these over the next few years of the project.
As a way to start talking, my ideas about social sustainability come out of my experiences as an anthropologist, which have challenged me to see how interactions with the environment are deeply affected by our cultures, histories, interactions, and needs. To ensure the sustainability of our environment, we need to understand these. For example, the tree below is not just ‘natural,’ but is also potentially a marker of memories, ladder, landmark, ancestor, historical record, meeting place, signal of land ownership, and many other things.
The environment is also social in many other ways, and we hope to discuss this with you.