Before the warm fuzzy feelings of the Inaugural fade, there is one more point to be made.
The Preamble to the Constitution is clear that, as a country, we intend to form “a more perfect union.” It is an interesting verbal construction. We are not trying to make a “perfect union”, since some static version of perfection will never remain intact. Instead, we are tasked with making our national union ever more perfect. This is an ongoing task, requiring us to be continuously attentive to the problems and perils facing our nation. In my mind, this national resolve is exemplified by Myrlie Evers-Williams’ opening prayer at the Inaugural. As the widow of the assassinated Civil Rights hero Medgar Evers, she seemed to have a unique and poignant perspective on how our union is becoming more perfect.
So what is the point?
As climate activist, we intend to form a ‘sustainable future.’ But perhaps that goal is too elusive and too static. It leads to debates about whether to buy plastic diapers or wash the cloth sort, whether to buy organic food from California or pesticide-sprayed local food. Such discussions are a waste of time, since every bona-fide choice made in an attempt to reduce our planetary impact is a good one. We should always work to be ‘more sustainable’ in the future than we are in the present and take advantage of each new lesson as we learn it.
All of us are on a journey to “more perfect sustainability”, each in our own way. Just as with our national union, we must be forever attentive and thoughtful about how to make our attempts to live sustainably every more perfect.