We talk about the Furman Family. For those of us who were Sustainability Fellows, we found ourselves turning into a family while cooking together. The things we share in common are at the center of what brings us closer together. After a summer of learning about sustainability, I came to the consensus that the driving factor behind sustainability is a desire to enhance the common good. The ends is not the limitation of carbon emissions, but rather , it is the assurance that our future children can enjoy the same beauty we appreciate today. It is less about keeping kids busy, and more about ensuring disadvantaged youth have a better chance at a future job. It means the business operates at the most efficient level to encourage growth and productivity.
Spotlighting the various sustainability efforts going on in Greenville has given me a large appreciation for the sustainability community in Greenville, and an understanding that this community is a family which coexists and collaborates all in the name of leaving the world a better place than it was given to us. Keeping that in mind, perhaps it should not have surprised me of the important role of the faith community in sustainability movements around Greenville.
Gardening for Good has many community gardens set up at churches, Long Branch Baptist sponsors and is at the heart of Mill Village Farms, and First Presbyterian pays Ricky Power his salary. If anything, this realization really justifies the existence of a Shi Center Fellowship with the Cothran Center. While non-denominational and faithful, the religious based component of the Cothran Center is surprisingly relevant to the Sustainability work in Greenville. Faith based communities provide many funding opportunities for those interested in pursuing green based initiatives.
I think the reason behind the prevalence of faith based communities is a lesson that I learned over and over again over the summer; The most important aspect to successful community work is creating personal relationships. Both Dan and Ricky first started going to church in their respective communities before suggesting their ideas. They understood that creating positive change required being on the inside and understanding the issues of the local community, as opposed to recommending change from the outside. This was hinted at in the book Toxic Charity, and was on display for me throughout the course of the summer as the difference between successful and successful models.