Change is the buzzword of our times and even those who stay resolutely fixed in their opinions and routines are caught up in it more than they'd ever realise.
It struck me during a recent visit to Melbourne where I'd normally catch up with a very dear friend who's currently living in China. With her finger on the pulse and access to the digital world, she's still keeping in touch with Melbourne's vibrant cultural calendar and pointed me to a superb exhibition she knew I'd hate to miss. Love and Devotion from Persia and Beyond, a collection of Persian, Mughal and Ottoman illustrated manuscripts, was as sumptuous and fascinating as it promised. The same day, my brother texted from his permanently attached iPhone his own firm opinions of Hobart's controversial MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, the amazing installation that has injected such energy into Tasmania's art scene.
It made me realise how much these exciting new technologies are expanding our horizons every day. We browse, email, text, blog, read online and, of course, call anywhere in the world our budget can stretch. Some of it is wonderful, much of it is rubbish, but whichever way you look at it, we live in an age of unprecedented interconnection that breaks down all geographical barriers. Our grandparents would be stunned.
But that same extraordinary expansion of our horizons brings with it responsibilities - our world is simply not the same cosy secure place we grew up in and that applies even to some older Gen Ys. It means we have to step outside our comfort zone, to make choices that benefit not just ourselves, but our children and all future generations.
As an example, my husband and I have made a conscious choice to leave our comfortable inner city lifestyle and move to Tasmania, an island where 'clean and green' really does mean something. We've left behind family, lifelong friends and mainland 24/7 involvement in favour of a simpler, softer, slower life surrounded by the beauty of nature, accessibility to abundant fresh produce and a robust sense of community all islanders would immediately recognise. It's all about sustainability and in our view we can come closer to a sustainable life in a land of water, fertile soil and deeply ingrained - like dirt under the fingernails - green values.
It's not for everybody that's for sure and I admit to pangs of homesickness from time to time. But, increasingly, we feel that it's the right choice. Along those same lines, I'd urge you to read in this month's issue the piece called "Customising Sustainability", which has been submitted by an American reader, Mark C. Coleman. Mark is clearly a leader in the development of sustainable technologies and attitudes in his own country and his message to us in Australia as well is to start asking "informed questions" of ourselves and our lifestyles. His advice is to become more aware and conscious in how we live our lives, in his words "more accountable" to meet the challenges facing the next generation. After all, these are our children and their children, the people we love more than anyone else in the world. That makes the choice so much easier.
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