Leadership is about Change
Sustainability is not a ‘nice to have’ option. It is a very real paradigm and the word the underscores the defining civilizational thinking of this era. For scientists, educators and thought leaders, sustainability can be an exceptionally depressing and frustrating leadership initiative. Some people get it – they see the ‘business-as-usual’ option as an inevitable failure, others think someone else will be responsible to clean up the mess we are in. With people tired, polluted, over worked and distracted we have the challenge of our lives – literally. Change is here and more is coming but progress will be determined by leadership and action.
Where do we go from here and where are we going anyhow?
We can measure ourselves against the health of ecosystems. If nature is thriving then it makes absolute sense that so should we. The only variable we have control over is the human mind. This is where we learn and choose and it starts with personal development. Not everyone is a leader but we do lead in our own lives. The choices we make are a result of awareness and connection. Awareness stems from a willingness to learn and communicate and connection comes from communication and feedback. You will notice greed is not anywhere on the list for attributes associated with self-awareness and connectivity. Ethics plays perhaps the biggest role in sustainability – larger than hopes pinned on technology.
Sense of the Future
With the human race moving more and more into urbanized environments, we will need to address the footprint of modern living and social conditions. A beginning question to lead an inquiry into a sustainable lifestyle is ‘what makes people happy?’. From here, we can plainly see research suggests health and relationships are key to happiness. This explains why some people’s experience in life is often better than those who accumulate a lot of material goods. Wealth brings security but not anything else. Pleasure seeking is also short-term gratification, leading to depression and anxiety – continual distraction and mental health issues. Trends we need to take leadership into include:
- Youth mentorship and direction
- Social wellness and community building
- Value exchange that includes housework, family and local development
- Materials reduction and chemical elimination
- Cultural institution, respect and heritage protection
- More sustainability education
Our cities will be very different places when planned with a different perspective of ecosystem health and social relations. Power will also have to be distributed to the various communities to create independence in food, energy and local economic development. This change is happening now and we must all show leadership and exchange knowledge and support related to stepping back from the red line of environmental damage before we can’t come back.