The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!
Change is inevitable. Yet many of us have a love hate relationship with change. Change can be good; it can also be feared and pushed away. Our economy, politics, climate, infrastructure, personal relationships, and daily lives are all continuously in flux and changing. One thing is certain however. If this generation does not address the myriad of changes happening around us, we will continue to lose ground in the global economy, and also constrain our capacity to our full potential as individuals pursuing freedom and opportunity.
In the past decade and in the past couple of years in particular, society has become unbalanced. Social change and uprising was prevalent in 2011 and 2012 with events like the Arab Spring, London Riots, and Occupy movements taking on greater emphasis here in the U.S. These movements are a result and reflection of many things, but a common thread is this generation’s inability to meet many of the mounting and basic needs essential to life. Like no other time in history there is a convergence of economic, social, and environmental challenges that we reawake to in the morning, and try to drown out as go to bed to in the evening. There are no simple solutions to our collective challenges.
While we focus in the U.S. primarily on the economy, other challenges run much deeper throughout the rest of the world. For example, natural resource damages, access to clean water, maintaining a reliable power grid and communications network, and feeding and housing the poor are front-and-center challenges which occupy the frontal lobe of people of other nations.
If a fiscal crisis does not crush us, a “sustainability crisis” will. Today, sustainability is about taking a conscious action toward delivering value to society, while addressing the trade-offs and concessions we might need to make, and in meeting the diversity of needs this global generation has in an equitable and balanced way.
Too often we place the blame and point the finger of our woes at corporations and government. There is no doubt business and government has to play a clear leadership role in addressing our sustainability challenges. But we must also be accountable, in our daily lives, to the changes happening around us. As citizens and consumers we have incredible power to impact a better lifestyle for ourselves, our families, and for future generations. Through your voting and purchasing power you can make decisions that impact the politics and products that directly impact your lifestyle.
The challenge for this generation is to transition our society from a sense of entitlement to an action oriented empowered and enlightened generation. In the process we will realize a better quality of life for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. The common denominator to a more or less sustainable world is “People”. Together we have the capacity, intellect, and potential to do great things. Given the challenges before us, now is the time to set aside petty politics and any sense of entitlement or indifference and come together to own who we are, what we are, and what we will be. Our time on this planet is limited. Each day is a gift and your life is a gift. This book was written to help individuals realize they are the most critical part of the sustainability equation.
We can use this opportunity and time in history to learn and leverage its past, redefine its present, and positively impact its future. In this equation, sustainability cannot be mandated, regulated, or legislated. If it is, it will likely fail as not every consumer or citizen has the same perception or definition of what is sustainable. The onerous to figure out “what is of value” to society should not just be on business or government. As citizens and consumers, we need to help others understand what is important to us, what brings us value, and what we envision as “quality of life” measures, and ultimately success.
Our lifestyle should not be defined by the products we buy or the policies that influence our behaviors. Rather, we should be accountable to our behaviors and live a self-directed life that keeps us, as individuals, in charge of our freedom and fate. In this way, we can remain the most viable force in fulfilling a life with a sense of balance, purpose, and passion. And in doing so, government and business can be more fully aware of our diverse needs, and play an even more valuable role in this integrated system of sustainability.
The solution for change and sustainability resides not only in our needs from government and business, but also as an ethic, code of conduct, and accountability which we should all live by, as consumers and citizens. As companies and governments strive for greater transparency and accountability programs we should support them with critical thinking, healthy debate, and clear communications. This generation requires commitment by, and responsibility of business, but also direct action by committed citizens and consumers willing to work as a cohesive “Sustainability Generation”.
The measure of success for this generation will be not in our ability to wage wars, land on the moon, or develop all of the earth’s natural resources. The mark of the Sustainability Generation will be in our ability to rise above negative campaigning and wasted time and energies and work together toward common solutions that address the most pressing challenges of our time, while enabling us to realize our full potential as global citizens.
Thank you again for your interest. I look forward to working with you as we discover and define our role as The Sustainability Generation!
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Created by Lumbie Mlambo, Equanimity Magazine shares the stories of those who are beginning, growing, and those who have succeeded in reaching the balance that allows us to pursue our dreams and goals in life.
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