Sustainability is cool

One of the primary reasons for our tardy adoption of more sustainable lifestyles is that conspicuous consumerism is still perceived to be very cool. The advertising industry continuously bombards us with brightly colored promises of happiness-through-consumption, celebrities cruise around in massive cars and cover themselves with all manner of bling, and the self-destructive mindset of “keeping up with the Joneses” is still very much engrained in the public mindset.

This seriously needs to change. The fact is that human beings, young and old, have a fundamental desire to fit in, to be perceived as cool. Therefore, as long as the consumption of ever increasing quantities of miscellaneous stuff is perceived to be cool, we will remain a society of totally unsustainable consumers. 

We desperately need to bring a new definition of cool to the public consciousness: sustainable living. Really, if you think about it, sustainability is super-cool. I don’t know about you, but if I see someone living a sustainable lifestyle, my respect for that person grows tremendously. A sustainable lifestyle implies that a person is highly informed about the state of the world, a great benefactor to future generations and a true leader setting the trend for others to follow. 

Now just imagine that you learn about this person’s sustainable lifestyle, meet him/her to find a genuinely happy person just radiating vibrant health and then hear from someone else that this person is also financially secure and makes generous contributions to various important charities. 

What would be your impression of such a person? Who do you think is cooler; this person or someone cruising around in the latest and biggest SUV (bought on credit)?

Think about it.

Filed under: Introduction – Key concepts

3 thoughts on “Sustainability is cool”

  1. Great post.
    In Seattle, Washington USA, green living is cool, desired. I read that our waste management is one of the best in the nation; however, step outside of our country/city area and it is a suburb hell. Where I live now, it is vastly different.

    I am extremely interested in how areas and countries work together for sustainability. By working together, I mean that the general mindset as a whole is on the same page. For example, Iceland. Also, Freiburg, Germany.

    (I will have more time to read your blog in the coming days.)

    Cheers, Claudia

    1. Thanks Claudia. Yes, you hit the nail on the head with your thinking about “mindset”. I think the general world citizen needs a significant mindset shift with regards to things such as personal health, personal finances, consumption and many others. Our society has made many achievements over the past few decades, but the general mindset of consumerism that evolved from this success has unfortunately put us on a completely unsustainable path. The global economic crisis we are entering now is the first real systematic symptom of this widespread unsustainable mindset.

      Thanks for the book reference. It looks to be very interesting and I’ll add it to my reading list. The message seems to be similar to the one on this blog: sustainable living can be highly advantageous and profitable in many ways. We will need many such books to create the large-scale mindset shift alluded to above…

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