There are two kinds of games – games that end and games that don’t. The rules are fixed and rigid in the first game. In the second, the rules change whenever necessary to keep the game going. James Carse called these finite and infinite games. We play finite games to compete and win. They always have losers and are called business, banking, CEO, war, NBA, president, Wall Street, politics. We play infinite games to play; they have no losers because the object of the game is to keep playing. Infinite games pay it forward and fill future coffers. They are called potlatch, samba, prayer, culture, tree planting, storytelling, and gospel singing.
Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on earth, is an infinite game, the endless undertaking of generosity on behalf of all. Any action that threatens sustainability can end the game, which is why groups dedicated to keeping the game going address any harmful policy, law, or endeavor. …They want to keep the fish game going, so they go after polluters of rivers. They want to keep the culture game going, so they confront oil exploration in Ecuador. They want to keep the hope game alive in the world, so they go after the roots of poverty…
…Some people think the movement is defined by what it is against, but the language of the movement is about keeping the conversation going, because ideas that inform it never end: growth without inequality, wealth without plunder, work without exploitation, a future without fear.
-Paul Hawking, The Ecologist