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The Perennials Project: building bridges in a shifting world

Those of us in the green space may tend to equate the term “sustainable community” with practices like the growth of neighborhood farmers markets, the integration of renewables into a town or city’s energy mix or the presence of innovative green businesses. Behind all of these practices, of course, are people committed not only to a more environmentally benign way of life, but also to the viability of their communities.

An eclectic group of young creatives has redefined the word “perennials” to describe the people at the forefront of creating healthier, more livable communities. The Perennials Project will explore these people who, according to the project’s website, are “working toward a sustainable future by bridging divides.” As you’ll see in the video above, a few of these people are well-known – Majora Carter and Patch Adams, for instance  - but many more are doing great work in their communities without that level of recognition. The Project aims to shine a light on all of these folks with a documentary film (which will debut at the UN Rio+20 conference), a blog which tracks the project through text and video, a community platform and good old-fashioned print publication.

When I came across this project I immediately wanted to equate it with Richard Florida’s notion of the creative class, or Paul H. Ray and Sherri Ruth Anderson’s concept of cultural creatives. I do think there’s some overlap (the notion of sustainability comes up in these social groupings, too), but I also think the notions of “building bridges”  and deep community roots makes the perennial concept unique. Check out their website, and let us know what you think. Is the Perennials Project onto something new?

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Image: Patch Adams in Sri Lanka Credit: Sarvodaya Sri Lanka at Flickr under a Creative Commons license