asacha nomu sō shizukanari kiku no hana
A monk sips morning tea,
the chrysanthemum’s flowering.
- Bashō Matsuo
The Impermanence of all things
Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of thing unconventional.
What wabi-sabi means… The culture and philosophy behind one of Japan’s most influential concept, that curved its way through arts, ceremonies. Wabi sabi became part of the everyday life of many in both Japan and overseas.
In Japan, there are many deep and meaningful concepts that are part of Japanese culture. The traditions and trends of the country are very interesting and circle around different forms of philosophy. Japanese culture and philosophy have a unique ideology of beauty and the perception of beauty and aesthetics in the world. One such intriguing Japanese concept is “wabi-sabi”.
Wabi-sabi is the view or thought of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature. It is about the aesthetic of things in existence, that are “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. Wabi-sabi is also deeply influenced by the teaching of the Buddha and its school of thought can be interlinked with Buddhist thinking. It is essentially a concept or ideology that comes from the ‘Buddhist teaching’ of the three marks of existence that are namely “impermanence” (mujō), suffering (ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (kū)”.
Wabi sabi is a beautiful way to describe what is natural and pure and to acknowledge the beauty of any substance or being in its most natural and raw form. It eliminates the rather Westernized concept of artificial beauty and idolizing a state of perfection that is seemingly unachievable and unnatural. The western world has made the concept of beauty into something that is becoming more and more refined as well as more and more unachievable with each passing day and it distorts the idea of natural beauty and accepting the flaws of existence, however, on the contrary, the Japanese belief and concept of wabi-sabi embraces just that and allows the people to be more accepting and open to embracing the beauty of flaws and rawness.
Wabi-sabi has a deep enrooted effect and influence on the culture of Japan. The philosophy reflects in many local aspects such as Japanese gardens, architecture, and many other forms of art as well. It is quite a delightful thing to experience and is a great theory put into reality through art and décor. Wabi sabi is a philosophy that has been extracted from the simplest of ideas and an everyday common thought but it has been implemented in such a beautiful way. It also goes well with the environment and the way of life that the people of Japan lead and live in. The philosophy reflects their temperament and lifestyle and also links to Zen Buddhism.
In Japanese architecture, the influence of wabi-sabi is what makes it unique. Even in the more contemporary design style of Japanese architecture, wabi-sabi blends in to give a unique aesthetic and sense of comfort with simplicity.
The concept can be better understood if it is broken down to its roots of the word ‘wabi-sabi’ itself. This leads to an interesting explanation and puts together a lot of sense behind the main concept that the word represents. ‘Wabi’ expresses the part of simplicity, impermanence, flaws, and imperfection. On the contrary, ‘Sabi’ displays and expresses the effect that time has on a substance or any object. Together ‘wabi-sabi’ embraces the idea of aesthetic appreciation of aging, flaws, and the beauty of the effects of time and imperfections. The two separate parts when put together, complete each other. They express simplicity and the truest form of an object. Finally, it embraces finding comfort in purity and a life detached from materialistic obsessions of the world.
In architecture, this means a more comfortable design ruled back to the simplicity of nature. It embraces the elements of raw textures rather than the false pretense of a crystal-clear space with a materialistic idealization of “perfection”.
For many foreigners the concept of wabi-sabi initially becomes difficult to understand and to digest at times. However, when it is simplified and broken down it becomes more clear and easier to understand. The pure intention behind the concept is present in the daily lives and art of Japanese people. The philosophy is present in their culture, traditions, and trends. It is different from what the rest of the world views. For a foreigner it could be hard to digest in the beginning. Nevertheless, once you embrace it, wabi sabi opens a doorway to an enticing belief. Therefore, wabi sabi has the power to change mindsets. It can change the common perception of what beauty and aesthetics really are and what they can be.
The Impermanence of all things
The bluest hour
by Isabel Sasse
The air holds thin and muted. The sun is made visible from the horizon line. It is 6:23am and I am consumed by something ineffable as I sit in the car, looking out at the sea from a distance. The waves soften their edges and melt into union, spreading their waters over the bones with an unspoken tenderness. They move in from black to blue, cradling themselves — A resemblance to lovers holding one another in the night. A deep, inner, holy essence. In poetry it is called the ‘Other’, or the ‘Seven oceans of the universe.’ Fragmented thoughts on meaning and mortality arise. On theory and the absence of meaning. All things are impermanent, the inclination towards nothingness is unrelenting.
I burn slow. I find myself desperately trying to grasp onto further meaning or some sort of profound understanding of what it means to be human. All too human. Perhaps this greater understanding is in not understanding at all. A paradox in itself — In letting everything be, as everything is. To stop pining for that last kiss of permanent truth. I know that there are deeper, more angular thoughts in my mind than I have let rise and spill out. Jean Baudrillard said ‘Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us.’
I kneel into the low tide, away from watchful gazes. My body sinks beneath ripples of light. Encapsulated by the complexity of salt. The simultaneously consumption and release silencing the final sigh left on my skin. The opulence of solitude, of wholeness, alone. Elated in my naked pulse — I abandon interpretation, and rest into the place we come from and the place we will return to.
I notice nothing but the breath of cerulean blue.
Poetry of the body
by Isabel Sasse
Against the backbone of my body I only speak through silence. At dawn, breath spreads thin allowing for silence before speech. An existence measured amidst layers suspended in time. A soft weight carried in the subtleties of a glance, as one would carry in distortion. An extraordinary moment of poetry and grace, occurring at any moment given the proper circumstance. Given the proper presence alongside attentive care inside those soundless hours. A reclamation of self and all that I had once abandoned.
Not all quiet places feel the same, the air holds varying levels of intimacy. When you can hear the breath of your own heart in the bone, a vast stillness consumes this intimacy through an unspoken equilibrium. I close my eyes to see, to hear it beating, dripping and communicate my understanding of the immediate world around me until my skin leans towards the fires that burn to the core. A way to deepen mythopoeic understandings of Self.
Here is simple. Here is heart. Hold onto this heaven of yours.
A web of relationships, linked through the notion of care
In conversation with Phoebe and Isobel, founders of transparent, ethical underwear and essentials brand Pico.
Could you tell us a bit about the many hands your undergarments go through?
There are so many hands involved in the making of a simple pair of pants, and so many processes. It all starts with the seed and the farmers who grow the cotton. In India, where our cotton is grown, most farmers are only farming a few acres each, so they work in a co - operative model. We have visited the farmers co-operatives in tribal Orissa, Madya Pradesh and some of the farmers who contribute to the co-operative.
Once harvested, it then goes on to be ginned where the cotton boll is separated from the plant, which is done at another unit, and turned into lint, it can then be spun into yarn. Our underwear is made of an organic cotton jersey so the fabric has been knitted, not woven. So the yarn is sent South to be knitted, 40km from where the garments are sewn. The whole rest of the supply chain is all within 40km of Mila, our fair trade factory who sew the final pieces.
Once knitted, the fabric goes to be dyed, Our ecru colour is un-dyed but the charcoal is a GOTS certified dye. The dye water is used as solar panels that power the recycling of the water so that 95% of it is recycled back to drinking water and 5% is used as a cement cake.
For our naturally dyed underwear we work with a dye artist in Ireland, Kathryn Davey. She dyes all the pieces in small batches from her studio using plant dyes. Our first three shades of wild heather, dusty terracotta and pink clay all come from the plant Acacia Katetchu and it is the different mordents applied and amount of dips that impact the tones, using iron, alum and soda ash.
The underwear is then sewn in a small fair trade factory in Tamil Nadu. We have been working with Girish and his team since 2016. It is a small team of 8 people. We work closely with Biju the pattern cutter, Sylvie and Murragen (Who find it especially funny when we try and learn Tamil).
Our towels are produced with a small co-operative of 40 farmers and 40 weavers in Gujarat. The indigenous cotton is grown in desert-like conditions as this seed has adapted over thousands of years to only be rain fed and require very little water. The farmers talked about how very little else can grow here, so being able to produce this indigenous cotton again is really important.
The co-operative we work with started out to support ecology, heritage and artisans in Kutch, after the 2001 earthquake and they have created a market for this indigenous cotton. We were introduced to this co-operative by our dear friend Kishore who has dedicated a large amount of his life to supporting and promoting the Ghandian cloth and philosophy of Khadi.
We work closely with Aziz from Khamir, who has introduced us to some of the farmers and weavers who work on our towels first hand. The weavers who hand weave the cloth on beautiful looms all work from their homes. There is a whole village of weavers, many of which also all perform music together. On arrival to one of the weavers' homes we could hear him singing away accompanied by the sound of the shuttle and the loom. His son had returned home to learn to weave from his father as opposed to selling fruit as he said it was a better trade for him. Khamir also support their weavers through this learning process.
Why was it important to you to equip people with ‘the basics’?
We wanted to produce things that people needed, that couldn’t be repaired and shared so easily. We couldn’t find essential wear that were also of a simplistic design, high quality and with a transparency that we could trust, so we set out to produce our own.
Everyone needs underwear and towels, for cleanliness and comfort, and we wanted to produce things that were also beautiful — Schumacher and Satish’s philosophy of things being beautiful, useful and durable. Satish in his book elegant simplicity quotes his mother which I think sums up how we feel so perfectly, “Have few things, but have beautiful things, so that you can cherish them, use them and wear them with pleasure.”
It has become more and more evident of the essentialness of underwear as we have been contacted by refugee charities asking for donations of underwear as they receive lots of donations of second hand clothes but they are always short of underwear. We have been able to make two donations so far and hope to make more as well as support a homeless charity here in Bristol.
How do you make the partnership with the farmer collectives work?
We work closely with Aziz who works for Khamir. He communicates directly with the farmers and the spinners and weavers. We visited the co-operative before working with them, as we had heard great things about them, and were lucky enough to be there when there was a gathering taking place of people working across India with indigenous seeds.
You have travelled to India yourself. Has visiting, being on site nurtured your relationship with the cooperative?
For us it was essential, we wanted to understand and learn as much as possible about our supply chains, about the industry, but also about the limitations.
We have been three times now and each time, we learn so much and get to know people that bit better. Something magic always happens when we go, too — the people you meet completely by chance and the opportunities that come up. We are a small company and for us, one of the most important things about setting up Pico has been the relationships that we have formed.
India is a country known for its rich artisanal craftsmanship and heritage. What kind of traditional crafts have you found in different regions?
India is certainly full of so many incredibly skilled crafts people whose traditions have been passed down generations. You turn a corner and there will be a sea of colour and craft before your eyes. We have met some incredible block printers in Madhya Pradesh, so many amazing natural dye units, where people are nurturing fermented vats of Indigo or foraging their array of plants and pigments.
One of my favourite pieces I have collected on our travels and demonstrates the array of skills is a dress made of Indigenous cotton to Gujarat, that is indigo yarn dyed and is in the style of the traditional dress of the Bhuj region and covered in ornate embroidery. It has been amazing to see master weavers passing down their skills to young apprentices and crafts across different regions.
How do you hope relationships with people within production chains can change in a meaningful way?
More and more customers are asking questions about their products and the people behind making them. This is creating a demand for transparency and connectedness, and whether it is the core of a small business to do so or a new requirement for a larger business, it can only be positive. Communication is key. It is a lot harder to create these relationships and share the stories when things are on such a large scale.
If we worked together more and did not strive to be huge businesses, but instead a web of small and medium size businesses that are sustainable both financially and for the planet then this is possible. When there is greater connection there is also a greater degree of care and not detachment. The one huge benefit of the internet is it has allowed us to stay in contact with people in remote places across the globe and for us to feel like we are not so far away after all.
On blending in
by Charline Catteeuw
An organic building is one that grows naturally—acknowledging the mastery of its surroundings, breaking free from any preconceived notions and ideas to become an entity of its own. It moulds itself to blend in with its surroundings; it responds to the ground upon which it is built, creating an interconnected relationship between the moving, the alive and the solid.
The Kip sits on a private jungle estate in the heart of Ahangama, Sri Lanka, an old fishermen’s village that has so far escaped globalisation and mainstream tourism. Surrounded by lush jungle and the sound of the breaking Indian Ocean waves, the four bedroom house evokes a sense of tranquility and serenity right upon entering.
Perhaps the most arresting aspect of the colonial villa is its open-to-sky courtyard, which the verandah makes way to, creating a seamless transition between the open and semi-open space, establishing an equilibrium between nature and building. It seems as though all corners of the house lead back to the courtyard.
There are no harsh contrasts in the built environment, it all blends in with the natural beauty surrounding the property. The Australian-Italian owner couple of The Kip prioritised their environment in every decision taken. Respect was an important factor: for the original design of the property, for local communities, for the hands that have built everything—putting traditional skillsets to use that have been passed down from preceding generations. Respect for the surrounding nature, for the island as a whole and every living and breathing entity on it. It is through this sense of respect that the colonial villa worships its surroundings, to interact with it and to give back to it.
An ode to its natural surroundings, The Kip is about the handmade, about objects that tell the stories of nature. Rocks, cement and woven décor match mostly wooden furniture. Wood, wicker, terracotta accessories are all interconnected. Because in the spirit of nature, everything is connected.
Humble and unpretentious, The Kip doesn’t try to be something it’s not. The villa is an authentic portrayal of the owner’s values, yet it portrays patience and attention to detail. Serene and somehow melodious. It appears as if this house has made its peace with its surrounding. It allows the Earth to breathe, without sacrificing its own identity.
The richness of a resource
For centuries, artisans in Japan’s Wakayama region have turned oak branches into Binchotan, a type of activated charcoal known for its purifying properties and its white hue, earning it the name White Charcoal. We met with Sort of Coal’s Gregoris Kalai to speak about Binchotan.
What was your first encounter with Binchotan? How did your infatuation begin?
I was first introduced to Binchotan in 2017 at my favourite restaurant in Copenhagen, Admiralgade 26. They had Sort of Coal products in the bathroom (the hand soap and lotion) and as soon as I saw them, I was immediately intrigued. It was a product that seemed impervious to the trend of overpowering scent and loud packaging. Instead, it was subtle and elegant. I knew I had to dig deeper into the craft, company and people behind it. Three years later, I now work together with Pernille as a partner.
You have travelled to Wakayamama in 2018 and met with the Binchotan craftsmen and women. What can you tell us about the craftspeople behind Binchotan charcoal?
It sounds almost trite to say it, but the people involved in the craft really operate on a different frequency. Wakayama is a beautiful coastal city south of Osaka, known for its onsens, natural landscapes, and being part of the Kumano Kodo trail. These elements make for a unique harmony with nature and an otherworldly connection to traditions, which seems to slow down time.
Kishu Binchotan remains the finest, densest and purest form of charcoal and is hand-made through a slow process over six weeks. What does this process look like?
White Charcoal is made from Ubame Oak, and yet it is unlike regular charcoal in every other way. As tradition dictates, the best branches are selected from slow growing hardwood trees in the mountain forests of Japan and Korea. The raw material is harvested by local craftsmen in such a way that it promotes rapid and fertile regrowth, ensuring that a healthy ecosystem is still in place after centuries of traditional White Charcoal production. The new branches absorb higher levels of C02 than their predecessors, giving greater benefit to the surrounding environment and providing a plentiful harvest for the craftsmen.
First, the oak is baked at low temperatures in a handmade clay kiln. The temperature is then rapidly increased before the embers are starved of oxygen by shutting the opening to the firebox, thereby preserving the carbon content of the wood. It’s that last step that differs from typical charcoal making, allowing Binchotan to retain around 97% of its carbon content. Once used, each charcoal product goes back to nature as a rich fertilizer.
Binchotan charcoal is manufactured in extremely low qualities. Why is that?
The kilns used to bake the oak are all handmade, so there is a natural limit to how large they can be, so productions are by default small. The more pressing concern is the aging population of Binchotan craftsmen. As the craft is passed down through generations, there are less and less people staying in the countryside to learn it. Globalization, if anything, has enhanced the allure of big cities and young people are eager to leave rural areas in favour of larger cities. Our commitment to Wakayama lies in part in our desire to keep this craft alive, and to prove that it can be used in interesting and functional ways. Apart from that, part of the craft requires constantly maintaining the original forest and not cutting down more than what is sustainable, as well as planting new trees, which we do through our partner in Japan.
What are some of the benefits of Binchotan?
Filled with countless microcavities, the surface area of just one gram of the material equals 250 m² , around the size of a tennis court. This allows White Charcoal to absorb impurities from water, air or even skin, while releasing vital minerals absorbed by the living tree, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
White Charcoal can turn tap water into pure mineral water, remove odors from the air, and work as a balancing agent for the body through the food of negative ions it emits. Despite the intensity of the activity taking place within White Charcoal, its surface is hard and beautiful; like a piece of porcelain.
The process is something that has been passed down through generations. What are some of the rituals around white charcoal?
The entire craft revolves around processes passed down from one generation to the next (as shown here). Everything from the cutting of the branches, to the building of the kiln, the arranging of the oak, and the maintenance of the fire is part art, part science. One craftsman told us that the process requires him to use all his senses. Knowing how much air to let into the kiln, when the oak is ready, and so on - requires him to be present and paying full attention for the duration of the baking process.
When the process is over, it is customary to celebrate with sake and daifuku mochi. A candle is lit and the god of the mountain is saluted.
How is white charcoal relevant to our way of thought?
In a world increasingly occupied with doing things quickly and using as many shortcuts as possible, the Binchotan craft offers an alternative way of doing things. A way of being deliberate, present and appreciative of natural materials; one that prioritizes longevity over economic efficiency, and the long term over the short term. It is reassuring to learn that a craft that originated in the 1600s is still alive today. We approach the material and its traditions with respect, and seek to elegantly combine it with a modern aesthetic—both to teach people about it and to preserve the craft behind it.
We’re Only Here Temporarily
by Gabriella Gaspirini
Much has been said about the state of nature. From it’s brutal, untamed order as expounded in Hobbes’ social contract to nature’s submission under the Enlightenment’s anthropocentrism, all the way to today’s Anthropocene. Over time, our relationship with the nature around us has gone from one of supremacy to submission, but in the insignificant amount of time we have been on this planet, what have we learnt from this natural world that both petrifies and soothes?
Our relation with the natural world, despite our very existence being dependent on its resources, has always been conflictual. In fact, it is only in the latter part of the 21st century that we have seriously begun questioning the tenets of our beliefs regarding the environment, its preservation, and the newfound interest in the symbiotic exchange between humanity’s unrelenting state of progress and the safeguarding of its natural resources. One of the first proponents of a symbiotic theory, providing evidence for nature’s cooperative and unselfish nature came from Lynn Margulis, an evolutionary biologist who was initially ridiculed by the scientific community for her contributions to the endosymbiotic and Gaia hypotheses. The Gaia theory, popularised by Lovelock, proposed that nature, its ecosystems and all its complexity, not merely operated as one evolving system, but also self-regulated itself. In Margulis’ theory, eukaryotic cells evolved via the symbiotic relationship with prokaryotic bacteria, meaning that it was through cooperation between species that evolution was spurred - not via competition, as commonly thought. Thus, what Margulis proved at the micro-level, her Gaia theory with Lovelock proved at the macro-scale. Life as we know it, essentially, is interconnected in ways we previously thought impossible when looking through the lens of anthropocentrism. Once we began unravelling the carefully spun web of human supremacy over its environment, we initiated the process of re-evaluation. A re-evaluation defined by our re-positioning within the schema of existence.
As our role within this world is re-scaled and re-evaluated, we begin to deconstruct the pillars of our supremacy. To be in this world, is no longer to be above it, in dominance, but rather to be with it. Heidegger, famously called this being, a being-in-the-world, which he defined as Dasein - a being that isn’tmerelyathing,butathingthrownw ithinthecomplexitiesofanalready-existingworld.By repositioning the human amidst the other, this phenomenological approach allowed us to see ourselves as intermingled and already imbued in this social and natural order. Being-in-the-world does away with the anthropocentric language popular within the Western tradition: through it, the dichotomy of the subject and object dissolves. Through it, we begin to see the interconnectedness of our being, realising that our consciousness is always a consciousness of something, not a thing isolated within itself. With this novel appreciation of our sense of liminality, we can now see, not with our eyes, but rather with our mind, that our bodies don’t end with the confines of its biggest organ, but rather propels itself into a multitude of different systems. We now know humans contain roughly the same amount of bacterial cells as human cells. Does that make us any less human? Or does that simply make us more entwined with the species, environments and systems we inhabit? According to contemporary philosopher Timothy Morton, technology notwithstanding, we are already inherently ‘cyborgic’ for we are made up of non-human components ranging from the mitochondria in our cells to the composition of our very
DNA containing genetic material from viruses. Essentially, we are already made of the environment in which we are positioned - this means that through our acts of ecological violence, we don’t just hurt the environment, but our very selves.
The idea of an environment so badly damaged by the acts of humanity that its own system of self-regulation is compromised, is inherent in Morton’s exposition of the Anthropocene. The Holocene, the geological epoch defined by the rapid growth and impact of the human species, from its hunter-gatherer beginnings to the transition to industrial urbanisation, has now ended. The epoch we have now entered, that of the Anthropocene, is defined by the impact humans have had on our planet’s geology, ecosystems and species. What Morton makes painstakingly evident is that the Anthropocene isn’t merely defined by our species’ destruction of the world, but also by our coming to terms with the irremediable fact that we now know we are the destroyers of our planet. We are now not only condemned to living on a planet whose resources and ecosystems are rapidly changing, but we are now experiencing, first hand, how every small action we perform, be it taking a flight to go on holiday, or kick-starting our car engines every morning to go to work, causes the further deterioration of our condition. This newfound awareness, that we ourselves aren’t merely the commanders of our own bodies but the unwitting drifters amongst the shifting ecosystems around us, is the tragicomical story of the 21st century: the realisation that it was only through the destruction of our planet that we came to realise just how entangled we were to it.
It is true, we are here only temporarily, but unfortunately, within that small speck of time in which we are given life, and despite our being human only figuring for a fraction of the Earth’s existence, we imparted on this planet a disease more virulent than that of any infectious microorganism. It may be true that we are more microbial than ‘human’ but ironically it is the human in us which has caused our planet this great illness. Sadly, this means we are not just here temporarily. Within the interconnectedness of Gaia, our actions have repercussions beyond our finite existence; and so we live on, diseased, in the haunting forms of climate change, mass extinction and rising sea levels.
For the past 150 years we have over-taken a vast number of natural resources, fauna, flora and, minerals from their natural habitats in the name of progress and capitalism, we have created an unbalanced eco-system. We have become consumerist machines and have created a disposable driven society. Big corporations, mass media, social media and marketing, working in unison, had us believe that we need a whole new wardrobe, household items, technology every season, or every year or two, just to keep up with the rest and to be accepted by the tribe. Long hours of work usually doing jobs that we don't enjoy and leave us unfulfilled, just for the sake of earning a salary at the end of the month so we can afford next years trends and gadgets, and the wheels on the rat race keeps on spinning around and around, year after year, decade after decade. We are the lubricant that keeps this capitalist/consumerist machine running. On top of all that, we were re-educated to believe that most of the food and beverages we buy today is healthy and is good for us. Carbonated sodas, energy drinks and cereals with extremely high content of sugar, canned food with preservatives, protein powders full of lactose powder, and the list goes on and on. All these social expectations, together with a unrealistic demanding unfulfiled professional and personal lives, fast pace non-stop competitiveness to please the company, uneducated over-misuse of technology and social media, poor nutritional diet has created a lot of pressure and stress for individuals to cope with, and in most cases it manifests as anxiety, depression, mental illnesses and other physical reactions. Later pharmaceutical companies spend billions developing drugs to temporarily mask these mental and physical illnesses symptoms, but failing to really cure and heal the ill.
An experimental society, and they make the rules as we go along.
They have created a society of robot sheep.
Don't ask,... follow orders.
But guess what,... we've let them.
We’ve only been on this planet for a fraction of its time. Yet for that fraction of time, we have come to occupy its accessible habitat and use up its resource available with little concern for the future. We claim land as our own, exploit and manipulate it for human gain, without thinking how we are damaging our relationship and connection with the world.
It says that we’re separate beings amongst other beings in a universe that is separate. This story of dichotomy really creates our world. But our world has come to a tipping point. At a planetary level, we have left our mark—an environmental scar. And lately, it seems, Mother Nature has been trying to get our attention. Its signals are increasingly loud, strident, and hard to miss.
The time has come to acknowledge the subliminal drivers, constructed world views and the myths that have led to our current predicament, and to strive consciously to hold them in check.
Is Homo sapiens unsustainable by nature? This is the central question of this first edition of Sustain. Going back to our roots as humans. we look up to the things that make us live up to our full potential as a human family endowed with self-reflective consciousness, that make us take our rightful place as the guardians and protectors of life on Earth we are.