Revolution of the Kind People

Sustainability

There is no way around it. We have to live more sustainably. But there are so many options. And what does it mean? It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Trust me, after almost 8 years of studying sustainability, I know it is. Therefore, this page will be soft and happy colors, words and vibes.

Yes, sustainability! How to live? You might have navigated through the worlds of sustainable living yourself. How did it make you feel? At some point, I was standing in the supermarket, frozen. I couldn’t buy anything anymore that was up to my standards. Everything was covered in plastic, injected with antibiotics or tortured, overproduced, unfairly produced, and I’m sure there was more. At that moment I knew that I couldn’t continue that way.

Sustainability means something like – able to be sustained. Denying yourself everything because you were born privileged isn’t a sustainable way of living. It might not even be living. It doesn’t make you happy, it doesn’t make you in touch with nature, and neither with yourself. It makes you afraid, suspicious and often judgmental.

What to do? Part of the solution – a big part – is looking not to the outside world, but inside yourself. What does your inner climate look like? Many wise and clever people have shown that unsustainable ways of living come from serious disconnection. Disconnection with nature, yes, but also with ourselves. Take a moment and wonder about the question: how come that people treat nature unsustainably, and with that, also threaten their own existence? And then dare to ask: how come that I do?

These questions are not meant to make you feel guilty and hide. But they are meant to help us understand our relation to nature, others and ourselves. We’re living in ecosystems and everything is connected. The better we look, the more clearly we find that our maltreatment of natural ecosystems stems from unhealthy internal dynamics. We are unhappy, unsatisfied. To compensate those feelings, we consume too much.

This is a very simplistic explanation. Of course, it’s never that simple. We can also look externally, and see that the cultures most of us live in cause unhappiness as well. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg story. Does the answer which one came first, external or internal imbalance, really matter? Maybe. But here, we focus on solutions.

Try to write down the five things in life that make you most happy and fulfilled. Deconstruct each component to find out if there’s an underlying assumption hiding within it. For instance: money [happiness component] – money gives me a big house and a nice car [underlying assumption] – these give me space, security, privacy, mobility and independence [true happiness components]. Then ask: are there any other things that can give me space, security, privacy, mobility and independence? Nine out of ten times, there are smaller, easier, and more accessible things that work just as well.

The example illustrates that we often chase false promises. Our social environments are full of them. As our brains are constructed to believe them, it’s not a shame that we do. But the act of chasing leaves us tired, empty, burned out and hopeless. It leaves our natural world exhausted. If we connect with our inner selves and learn to provide our true basic needs on a daily basis, we won’t need to run, fly, eat, work, buy and achieve so much.

So let us ask one more time: what to do? Well, after all these years I would say, try and fail with good intention. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. Not everyone contributes the same way. Try to find stillness and wonder, what really makes me happy and fulfilled? I dare to promise that the more mindful and connected with yourself you become, the easier and more logical it becomes to make choices that are holistically beneficial. For some, caring for themselves starts with caring for others. For others, truly caring for themselves is the first move. Don’t judge. Try. Feel. The answers are within you. Take a walk through the forest and marvel at its beauty. But mostly:

Go slower, go silently, listen. Stand still, question, listen. Be patient, allow, listen. Use less, chase less, want less, listen. Get to know yourself and act with intention. If you’re stressed, ask why and for whom? If you really want something, ask why and if it’s true. If you want to fly to see your family, go. Compensate elsewhere. Focus on the people that are doing great work already. Support those who don’t have a voice when needed. But mostly, accept the way things are. It sounds strange. But when you do, the solutions come to you.