“Some look at things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Thinking Out of the Box
Innovative thinking is an important and powerful tool to help maintain an attitude of optimism within the context of global crisis rampant in the world today.
With the proverbial box closing in on us, it’s time to jump beyond boundaries and investigate new horizons.
Since our current systems prove dysfunctional and our lifestyle is unsustainable, avoidance of making the essential changes required is absurd…idiotic, even.
Ron Finley’s Remarkable Innovation
Recently, I stumbled upon an exceptionally inspiring TED talk by Ron Finley, who aptly reminds us: “The funny thing about ‘sustainability’ is you have to sustain it.“
Please take time to watch and listen to his amazing ten-minute talk portraying this principle. His vision is actualized in a way that encourages youth to follow suit. Inspiring others to cultivate similar actions and to ‘pay it forward’ naturally engenders the ‘sustainability’ of optimistic hope for a sustainable future.
Inspiration is Transmissible
What I find most inspiring about Ron Finley’s story is how his example serves to transform the worldview of intercity youth. It motivates them to not only adopt a positive, proactive attitude but also generates awareness of the crucial relevance of communal concern, cooperation and mutual responsibility.
The message is inherently metaphorical. The act of planting and tending a garden to grow healthy, affordable food in a place plagued by poverty provides healthy mental, emotional and spiritual nutrition for all who become involved, and even for those who observe from the sidelines. He said: “Gardening is my graffiti. I grow my art…”
Finley’s unique ‘garden-art’ expresses higher principles on many levels, inspiring the entire neighborhood, the children, the world. His ‘graffiti gardens’ harvest two kinds of produce – vegetables and innovative outlooks…both are digestible. His vegetables serve the inner-city poor; his notions serve to nourish the hearts and spirits of people from all walks of life.
He said: “To change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We are the soil…gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus, you get strawberries“
Beacons of Light
Amma, my teacher from India, always says: “Optimism is the light of God.”
Dedicated heroic activity like those exemplified by Finley’s shining efforts can be compared to candles: a flame that sets other candles alight loses nothing by giving itself away freely.
Finley’s group, L.A. Green Grounds, which developed as a result of his original efforts, has proceeded to grow over twenty public, non-profit gardens in intercity communities. His TED video plants seeds of inspiration for any who view it. Instead of diminishing the candle’s radiance, such efforts generate cumulative brightness and brilliance none could accomplish alone.
As Finely noted, the seeds of one single plant can eventually reap a harvest of exponential proportions.
Sustainable Hope is Universal
Let’s hope the innovative idea-seeds his story inspires spread globally and sprout in every kind of soil, eventually producing the united effort for positive change desperately needed in our world.