why do we need a (PERSONAL) SUSTAINABILITY REVOLUTION?
In a way sustainable development is a utopia – a never-ending and ever-changing aspiration towards a better, more just and viable way of living, an ideal that does not exist in the measurable world. However, it is an ideal we need to be pursuing to survive.
Why do we need a revolution?
We need a revolution, because the extent of needed change is massive and runs across many societal sectors and layers. We don't only need a less wasteful and polluting, more ethical and fair systems and less growth oriented and globalized economy. We also need to change our perspectives on many cultural, value- and worldview-related matters. As research from the past decade shows, we have pushed ourselves out of the favourable conditions of the Holocene and into the volatile and risky state known as the Anthropocene. To cope with this new situation, we as humanity need to raise our awareness of the situation and become much more responsible in our ways. This means a revolution.
Where to start?
Sustainability relates to people often with things like e-mobility, renewable energy, reducing CO2 emissions etc. Indeed, many outer processes need to change to become smarter and less wasteful.
However, pursuing the efficiency strategy alone is not enough any more.
It is paramount to keep in mind that sustainability is relative, always dependent on the context. So instead of learning and applying ready-made formulas we need to support building the competence and sensibility for noticing and interpreting the circumstances and connecting the dots to come up with adequate solutions.
However, I argue that the outer change will remain incomplete and rely heavily on resource intensive outer pressure, rules and control if it is not accompanied, or rather, preceded by inner change.
Personal sustainability as the key
Indeed, the revolution towards sustainable human development begins with personal insights and voluntary change-making. We need a personal, inner sustainability revolution to enable and facilitate outer transformations. For me, personal sustainability means starting sustainability revolution from the individual level. This is not too little or too late. When I started out as doctoral student investigating how different societal groups wish to make sustainable development happen, I felt that one person at the time approach, that is common to, among others, to people living in ecovillages, is not fast and comprehensive enough. However, over the course of many years I realized that this is the only way to achieve change that is not outwardly motivated or pressured, but self-motivated and sustainable on a long-run.
How to achieve personal sustainability?
How to build up personal sustainability competence to be able to combine inner and outer transformation? How to learn inner literacy necessary for achieving personal sustainability in the face of major macro-scale issues like climate change? It has become my mission to help people exit the confusion and overwhelm and give them the knowledge and tools needed to unclutter and transform their lives to achieve stable personal sustainability for the benefit of themselves, people around them and the planet. Helping people to become the change they want to see in the world starts by realizing that by changing themselves they already contribute to transforming the world. Such stance is much healthier than considering individuals victims of the flawed system.
Empowered though conscious action
Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own life requires empowering people as change agents to take daily time for self-reflection and pay attention not only to helping others, but also to regular self-care. Knowing which self-care works for you requires self-knowledge and inner literacy. This is why I consider developing inner literacy so relevant for developing personal sustainability and finding good ways for connecting inner and outer sustainability. The ability to become aware and the power to change requires inner resources and that is why a big part of my service is helping people to learn inner literacy to be able to understand and manage their own needs, wishes and behaviours and align it to the broader sustainability goals.