By Alvin Codner:
Cultivating and implementing sustainability within a city is not an easy task. There are numerous towns and or cities in the United States that have achieved sustainable living for their residents so it's not impossible, yet, majority of the cities within the United states have a high poverty rate due to the lack of sustainable resources. Even though Kissimmee is not the worst city in Florida and the poverty rate isn't as high compared some other cities that I lived in the nation, there are still a mass number of residents who aren't living sustainable. Logically, the only true way to increase sustainability anywhere in this world is by improving the economic environment.Even though the process of economic development is complex, effectively improving the economic environment will consist of 6 simple words/steps... resensitizing, understanding, partnership, innovation, allocation, , and re-utilization. Throughout this blog I will elaborate on more specific details of each word and how each can increase sustainability and improve the economic environment in Kissimmee, Florida.
A percentage of the public, as well as those in power, have grown to become desensitized to social norms. Per definition, desensitizing means to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent and or to make emotionally insensitive or callous. Every culture has there desensitizing agents which cultivate and empower these social norms that have negative impacts on a percentage of humans... that should be sensitive to all... but is not. Once we all as a whole become WILLING to re-sensitize ourselves to what is going on in society today we will then be able to begin the process to "understanding."
One of the main reason elected officials and the citizens they serve have conflict is due to lack of understanding, misunderstanding, and willingness to understand. If you do your research into the history of politics, as well as the current political arena, the average age of politicians in America is above 50 years old. There is nothing wrong with elderly people being politicians, however, the trouble begins to stir when a certain number of those elderly politicians do not move with the changes of the world. Certain elderly people who become career politicians tend to fall into keeping things "traditional." Per my perspective, those politicians who want to serve with the "traditional way" mentality... are serving the public with a close mind with no room for opportunity and or innovation. When that is the case, the "understanding gap" begins to grow vastly between the politicians and the people. Per my theoretical thinking process, the "understanding gap" is a gap filled with misunderstanding/misinterpretation and demographical differences/indifferences. Within that understanding gap, also consist of more specific gaps such as the age gap, gender gap, sexuality gap, race gap, religion gap, economic gap, and etc. Below I shall provide you brief description of each understanding gap category:
Age Gap: When there is a 10 to 20 year old age difference, perspectives of human tend to grow further apart. Young people such as the millennials and centennials at times have a difficult time conversing and or finding middle ground for the older generations such as Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalist. The reason why is because the way the world has vastly change between Generation X and the Millennials/Centennials generation. The economy has changed, technology has change, and the list literally goes on forever. The reason why this understanding gap remains open and continues to grow is because the a percentage of the older generations want to keep the society moving in a traditional way to where, on the contrary, majority of the younger generations strive for change and innovation.
Gender Gap: The gap between gender will be an forever ongoing dilemma simply because no man can never truly understand what it is like to be a woman and no woman can understand what it is like to truly be a man. Since that is the case, as humans and opposites, we can empathize and sympathize with the opposite sex. Even though we as humans have the capability to empathize and sympathize with others, not everyone practices those capabilities and that is where the gender gap of understanding becomes present. There is a percentage of men who believe women should be a certain way and do certain things... and a percentage of men believe that women should be a certain way and act a certain way. Both genders tend to base their standards for the opposite gender off of social norms and or how their environment showcases the specific genders. The conflict comes when different genders enter an environment or culture where the other genders standards are different.
Sexuality Gap: The gap of misunderstanding and or misinterpreting a person's sexual orientation or preference. This is a very sensitive topic in America as of lately due to hate crimes and cyber-bullying towards the LGBTQ+ community. There are a percentage of humans who can't comprehend why or how other humans don't have the same sexual preferences as them, hence, the gap continues to grow and remain open.
Race Gap: The race gap may be one of the toughest gaps to close in America as a whole but it is possible to do on a local level I believe. This gap involves the racial differences and indifferences within certain cultures. A prime and common example here in the United States is a percentage of Caucasian people who dislike other races for whatever reason they can possibly conjure up. Also, there is a percentage of several minority races who are consistently prejudice towards the majority race because they assume the whole majority race is racist and or prejudice towards them.
Religion Gap: This is the gap between a percentage of religions that despise other religions that serve other Gods...other than their own. This gap also has a major influence of hate crimes here in the United States.
Economic Gap: This gap consist of wealth and educational gaps between the lower/middle class and the upper class. Those who are born in the upper class are born into wealth and receive better education compared to the lower/middle class who are born into poverty and receive mediocre or the bare minimum education. Lack of education increases the lack of opportunity and resources. On one side, there are some humans who simply will be well off regardless if the economy crashes or not. On the other side, there are humans who are simply living check to check and or living off the clothes on their back. If the market crashed for the lower and middle class, the struggle becomes a stressful burden.
There are many more different "understanding gaps" but for time sake that I only will speak on those stated above.
So, how do we close the understanding gap thinking on a global scale but acting on a local level? It all starts with being open-minded and practicing mindfulness. Each group at that the end of each gap needs to be WILLING to be mindful and tolerant of each other's logic and perspective.
The Older generations will need to be WILLING accept change and work with the younger generation to keep up with the times and the way society is moving so that certain laws and regulations are fair, accurate, and more up-to-date. The younger generation will need to be WILLING to do research on why certain objectives the older generations conduct doesn't work in the present time... and also be patiently willing to elaborate detail orientated alternative options for the older generation to have to support and work with the younger generation. Males and females will need to be WILLING to emphasize/sympathize with each other logic and perspective. The LGBTQ+ community and the communities against them... need to be WILLING to find a middle ground for the simple fact... we are ALL human with civic needs. People amongst different ethnicity and races will need to be WILLING to come together and work together to recognize that we the people... holistically, are going through the same trials and tribulations... and all we need to do is come together, cultivate plans, organize, and execute the plans created. Those who believe in any religion will need to be WILLING to have and continually practice religious toleration... and treat others with respect regardless of the god they serve or don't serve. As for the economic gap... we need to be WILLING to eliminate classism. If we all can BE WILLING to close each gap, not only will Kissimmee, Fl be a better place... but the world as a whole will to.
Once we all have an understanding of each other and find middle ground, we will have to be WILLING to partner with each other. When I spoke elected officials across the state of Florida, the cities that have successfully increased there sustainable living for the residents they serve... they all stated it started with ONE plan. The one plan was a plan cultivated through partnering with neighboring cities, counties, businesses, organizations, and most importantly the people. Everyone involved were focused on ONE ultimate goal. Here in the City of Kissimmee, as well as Osceola County as a whole, tend to be divisive in the political arena. Once we as a whole become WILLING to come together and work on a plan together... the environment will start to go up in a positive direction.
Leaders around the world individual will need to be WILLING to be innovative when it comes to their leadership initiatives. Social Entrepreneurship can occur in for-profit business but most certainly... in non-profit organization as well as the government(public sector). I believe elected officials whether on the local, state, or federal level, have thee ultimate duty to be innovative in making the objectives easier to accomplish for every day living people.
Throughout my research while I was in the Florida Atlantic University College of Design and Social Inquiry, I discovered the Organizational Capacity for Continuous Innovation (OCCI). This model was developed by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair, who surveyed literature in non-profits. The OCCI model emphasizes the idea that innovations should be thought about as a process, rather than an outcome.
One of my goals for organizations in the City of Kissimmee is to increase the capacity for innovation. Some potential ways to acquire that initiative is to:
Create a “vision for innovation”, defining what it means to people throughout the organization.
Align innovation systems with organizational strategy
Listen and stay open, both to internal and external sources of possible new ideas
Engage in collaboration, since partners bring new perspectives and ideas
Maintain a flat organizational structure, facilitating communication and a quick approval process for new initiatives
Define jobs around innovation
Build a culture that embraces failure
Once we have a understanding of each other by closing the gaps, partnered up with others,