September 2022 marks the fourth Sustainable Orillia Month in our short history as an organization devoted to making our community more sustainable. We seek an outcome where our community leaves a positive legacy for our descendants.
Today the term “sustainable” is used to mean many different things and to promote a wide range of ideas, products and services. The concept of “seven generations” is another lens through which we can help understand sustainability. According to the site of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (www.ictinc.ca), the Seven Generations Principle goes back to The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and was written somewhere between 1142 and 1500 A.D. There is indication that Benjamin Franklin’s respect for the Haudenosaunee system of government may even have influenced the writing of the U.S. constitution.
Today, the concept of seven generations generally refers to ensuring that decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources are sustainable for seven generations into the future. However, the concept is equally applicable to economics and society; decisions there must also keep a healthy future in mind.
The Seven Generations Principle is a simple and unselfish lens that each of us can use to make decisions that move us closer to sustainability—as individuals, families, organizations and businesses. However, envisioning seven generations forward is challenging and truly visionary. We need thoughtful leaders, solid research and scientific knowledge to do so.
As we contemplate the outcome of the upcoming municipal elections, let’s promote the concept of Seven Generations thinking to our candidates and to those elected Mayors and councillors, asking them to make decisions with this principle—and the well-being of future generations—in mind.
To help us all provide a more systematic and detailed framework for what should be considered in seven generations thinking for our Orillia community, please join us and many of the local political candidates at our “Path to Net Zero” Conference on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25 at St Paul’s Centre on Peter Street. There is no cost. We promise that you will be inspired and have an opportunity to contribute to the actions that our community can and should take to become more sustainable.
Watch for more details on how to register for this important event on Sustainable Orillia’s social media and new releases in the weeks ahead.