In a recent post on her blog, Jumper, Diane Ragsdale shares an excerpt from her keynote address on the topic, “Is Opera a Sustainable Art Form?” from the Opera Europa conference in February. Referencing Alexey A. Voinov’s Paradoxes of Sustainability, Ragsdale eloquently asks us to consider where our motivations lie and what we are truly trying to save when we preach of a need for sustainability:
“Forest fires naturally occur and burn down portions of ecosystems so that the forest ecosystem as a whole can persist. If we begin to prevent forest fires we damage the forest ecosystem.
And so what, specifically, could this mean for the opera world and the question at hand? Well, if we agree with Voinov and think his ideas could apply to organizational systems and not just natural ones, it means that we should ask ourselves where we may be seeking the “unnatural perpetuation of what might otherwise die”? It means that we need to think very carefully about which level of our ecosystem we are seeking to sustain.”