Local View: With sustainable politics, 'we can move forward as whole communities'

From the column: "Sustainable political practices can steer this young nation in a direction that instinctually protects living beings and reinstates honor in the American dream."

Nicole Coler.jpg
Nicole Coler

Sustainability practices work to meet the needs of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow. Read that again. If the United States were to apply sustainability practices to U.S. politics, it would allow for alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and, in doing so, steer the country’s political landscape toward its original aspirations of “liberty and justice for all.”

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (and relative sustainability principles) have a foundation of data that can guide legislative priorities and navigate complex challenges such as climate change, inequities, partnerships, and so on. Each of the 17 goals care for a worldwide necessity that can be found on local, state, national, and global levels. Universal needs, in other words.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals have been adopted by 193 countries across the globe and are an effective framework to utilize not only because of the mindful practices encompassed within sustainability principles but for the forward-thinking use of balance and respect to guide measurable successes in environmental, social, and economic priorities.

So why take the leap toward practicing sustainable politics? It’s because we cannot be complacent knowing the economic and social outcomes of current U.S. systems (and resource allocations). Americans can be empowered to disillusion this divided nation so that we can create healthy dynamics that allow individuality while growing together. In turn, we can move forward as whole communities. No more keeping people down. No more putting people in a box. In sustainable practices, we restore voting power.

Sustainability principles in today’s U.S. politics transform barriers or issues like suppression, exclusion, complexity, and division into attributes like voter participation, informed and engaged citizens, restoring systems that address inequities, inclusivity through simplicity, and respected individuality.


Restorative actions in U.S. politics work to strengthen constitutional values by increasing inclusion and accessibility for every voter, aspiring voter, candidate, and politician. Political restorations on a national level include declaring Election Day a national holiday, retiring major political parties, reducing political finance corruption, and retiring the Electoral College. These restorative actions can definitively reshape national voting and elections processes to emulate the intentions of this great country. They are crucial to fostering collaborative progress in priorities such as DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives, human rights, ecosystems, and systemic change for all things socially unjust.

Sustainable political practices can steer this young nation in a direction that instinctually protects living beings and reinstates honor in the American dream. To build momentum in sustainable U.S. politics, consider these citizen-engagement opportunities: exploring sustainability terms and principles, reviewing the 2021 U.S. sustainable-development report, reaching out to legislators about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, downloading the goals app, and showing up on Election Day.

To conclude with a single-most important message would be a definition of respect, which is a consideration for the thoughts, feelings, rights, and traditions of others.

Nicole Coler is a community manager for a youth-serving nonprofit in Bloomington, Minnesota, and is a Duluth-area native.

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