Doing Sustainability as if the world wasn’t going to shit


The double whammy of the Mass Extinction and Climate Crisis news reports could prompt us to act in certain ways, or even not act at all.

I think, as shitty as the state of the world appears to be, it’s worth remembering that good things are happening all around us. People are creating meaningful change, are finding new ways to relate, or are rejecting recieved ‘wisdom’, to name just a few general examples. Perhaps we are further towards what many of us having been fighting for, if i can take the liberty to frame it thus: the transformation in human conciousness to recognise our ecological being.

As Fred Peace argues in this article, it’s even possible that the systemic and structural dimensions of our economics and societies are also starting to shift to reflect this.

I’m curious what you think it means for our mindsets and behaviours if instead of frustratedly waiting for sustainability transformations to begin, we are actually already witnessing (or even missing) the unfolding transformation.

These seem to me to be significantly different mind frames under which to go about our day as sustainability workers. What does taking one frame or the other mean for people like ourselves who make sustainability an explicit part of their lives and work? Does it change how we see ourselves?

Personally i’d like to think that it means we can be a bit more agile, fun, innovative, and able to relate to people in different ways. Not bound up in panic, stress, grief and apathy. Instead of frantically fighting fires left, right and centre, perhaps it means we can be a bit more careful – choosing where to put our efforts, taking time to develop the most effective partnerships, and being even more conscientious about the need for a ‘just transition’.

It may sound pretentious, but i see us as drops in a fast-flowing river, teeming with life. And that river can shift, quickly, to a new course. How does our awareness of the direction of the river affect the ways in which we try to steer the course of the river? Does it help us to be a little bit more aware about what we’re capable of?

This is an open thought experiment and you’re welcome to share your thoughts.


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