When we talk about sustainability, we are basically talking about protecting the natural environment, because of the harm that our industrial society has been doing for the last 200 years. After the industrial revolution, people started thinking that they could take resources from Nature without any limit. We also started thinking that all the highly toxic wastes produced by machines and systems would not result in an important impact to the environment. Eventually, our society shaped our mind in a consumistic way, because we have been taught that whatever we buy and use will end up being a waste.
Lately, all this has been discussed and many different disciplines have agreed that we need a change.
What I believe (and also many specialists, like Bob Doppelt, the author of The power of sustainable thinking ) must change in the first place is the way we think and behave towards our environment.
Doppelt stated in his book that current environmental problems cannot be solved by only applying more efficient technologies. A fundamental change has to be done in people’s mind. Only after people will start thinking and behaving sustainably, all the progress in sustainable technology will be successful.
In order to think sustainable we need to shift from a perspective of “take-use-waste” to “borrow-use-replenish” mind-set. We need to understand that we can only borrow resources from Nature, use them as goods and then return them, without being harmful. The process must be circular, and able to be repeated over and over again. No damage must be done to the things we borrow from nature.
Too many people still think that sustainability does not depend on our daily behave, while it is actually deeply embedded in our lifestyle. It is the real trigger of the whole Sustainable Development. This is why Sustainability needs to be in our Minds first, in order to be then applied to the industrial society.
This is a short introduction for the broader topic of sustainable living related to our lifestyle, that I will describe through the next weekly columns.
1. Bob Doppelt, "The Power of Sustainable thinking", Earthscan, USA, 2008