Translating ‘sustainability’ into everyday life…

by | 14 Apr 2023

Translating ‘sustainability’ into everyday life…

At Achieving Greenness we tend to think about the state of the planet, our environmental impact, and the growing climate emergency, many times a day. It is at the forefront of our minds most of the time, which means we consider it for everything we do and we seem to spend more time thinking about it than not!

And because we are always thinking about it, it is baffling to us how so many people don’t seem to give it a second thought at any point in their day…

So we started giving a bit of thought and discussion as to why this might be, and how to start translating ‘sustainability’ into everyday life. And something struck us… questioning… or rather the lack of questioning…

It struck us that we seem to have become a society that has lost the ability to question anything… which has resulted in an almost blind trust in things like companies and governments that ‘couldn’t possibly do anything to intentionally harm us or the planet’ because we think ‘it simply wouldn’t be allowed’…

We don’t seem to consider anything at all when buying a product or service, other than the financial cost. And this blind faith and lack of questioning undoubtedly adds to our detachment from the real impacts of climate change. We may have read and heard about all the problems and issues we are facing worldwide due the climate crisis, but because we aren’t experiencing them directly in our own everyday lives, and we don’t question anything we currently do, we are perhaps less inclined to make sustainable changes to our everyday lives as a result…

A very simple conversation with my children recently about palm oil, the huge deforestation impact it is having, and the fact it is in so many of our well known snacks on the market, highlighted how far we still have to go in order to get a real understanding of the bigger picture and a cultural and mindset shift away from things we currently do and buy, towards more sustainable choices.

It is great to see climate change being taught in so many schools now, but it is the translation from the teaching into everyday life that still appears to be a challenge.

My oldest was recently shown the image of an orangutans fingers wrapped up in kitkat paper at school to demonstrate how palm oil is a huge cause of deforestation, and that we unknowingly contribute to the problem by consuming products containing this palm oil. The kids were all horrified at the image and questioned why palm oil is even in chocolate, then the minute they left the classroom it was all forgotten by most of them, no habits changed, and many of them bought chocolate on the way home without looking at the ingredients.

A recent shopping trip with teenage girls highlighted to me the conflict between what they have been taught about climate change in school versus the consumerist ‘lifestyle’ shoved down their throats from so many angles 24/7, and the ease with which they fall for greenwashing. They do have a conscience and an understanding about the climate crisis, but they aren’t then able to translate this into thier own lives or consumer choices. And this really isn’t their fault, it is ours…

For a culture and mindset shift towards improved sustainability across every area of our lives, it seems we really need to start asking questions again, at all ages, and about everything. And if we don’t think we are getting satisfactory answers then we need to ask more questions.

It is the translation from ‘sustainability’ and ‘environmental impact’ into tangible everyday action and life that is vital in enabling us to really tackle the climate emergency.

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