Sustainability. Highjacked by marketing? It appears that “sustainability” is now a marketing concept to keep selling us products while making us feel good about buying and consuming.
Sustainability = the Big Good | Sustainable products = the Little Goods
Sustainability is usually described in broad terms as being “good” for people, planet, and profit, and sustainable products are defined by narrow attributes such as renewable, efficient, fair trade, free-range, organic, biodegradable, recyclable, etc.
Humble beginnings – and sustainability is far too complex to be thought about in this way alone, even though marketeers make us believe it is simple in order to ease our consciences.
We cannot lie to ourselves—we need to accept that, as humans, we leave a footprint on this planet with every single thing we do. Hold still without moving for ten minutes—you still impact plants and animals, rivers, oceans, the air, and the earth itself. This interdependency is a given.
Is this all for us us us? We can change our view and look at nature as something other than a resource to be exploited for our benefit. It is a living organism on which our future depends. Instead of taking nature for granted, we can better understand the natural laws that govern all life, including yours and mine, on this planet, so that we can adjust our lifestyles . . .
. . . to live within the carrying capacity of the planet
Wait! Did you just think “oh geesh, we have to make do with less”? Why do you think that? It may be that we can use what we have more responsibly and develop ways of life that support or even enhance nature instead of destroying her. There is more to this story than you may realize; there is new information and new initiatives are emerging everywhere working on just this approach. People are finding ways to live more satisfying lives while using less. Heard of “upcycling”?
Here’s the truth – Given the challenges we face, there is no single or simple solution. We have to act together and recognize the unique contribution each one is able to make. Sustainability is not just about products, but about the mindset behind the products which brought them about, as well as the mindset of people using the products.
With sustainability being our guiding star, let’s choose a path of sustainable development and start the journey towards a common goal.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world. – John Muir