Environmental issues and sustainable development
Are the pathways towards sustainable development offering opportunities for everyone in a globalised world?
Table of Contents
chapter I (social psychology) 9
1.1 what does motivate people? 10
1.2 introspection 12
1.3 Thoughts and feelings 14
chapter II (persuasive message) 15
chapter III (maslow’s hierarchy of needs) 16
2.1 five tier model 17
2.2 self-actualization 18
chapter IV (happiness and materialism) 20
3.1 controlled happiness 21
chapter V (materialism is a paradox) 23
4.1 based on experiences 25
4.2 consumerism 26
4.3 “you are the part of the problem” 27
chapter VI (Sustainable living) 29
5.1 eco-friendly 30
chapter VI (Sustainable development) 32
6.1 club of rome – limits to growth 33
6.2 small is beautiful 35
6.3 hannover principles 37
6.4 sustainable everyday 39
6.5 social innovation exchange 40
solution – questions 44
This paper seeks to explore the different ways in which people are motivated to create a better life for themselves.
From those searching individual happiness and fulfilment to those attempting to share their goals with others in fairness.
This paper will identity landmark works that have turned people’s attention to environmental issues and to sustainable development.
In a world which is seeing ever-increased globalisation, the philosophies which seek to discover what motivates people in life, and what goals they must search for, continue to excite us with their diversity. Whether spiritual or material, individual or social, different philosophies have gone in and out of fashion. Each will have their adherents and their critics, and in order for any one philosophy to have the universal appeal it would need to address the diversity of human conditions.
Both in the wider world, and within local communities, there are the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. The natural environment has a limited number of resources and increasingly policy maker are advising that the sustainability of existence is the key motivator, if the next generation is going to enjoy the same opportunities as previous ones.
In today’s world, society is being led to believe that everything and anything is ‘for sale’, in both the domestic and global markets, and that everything has a price and that people are seen as both consumers and commodities.
The price of anything is determined simply by the demand for it. But while people are primarily the consumers they too have become the ‘products’. Society is forever in search for perfect role models, leaders, politicians, sports people and musicians who are ‘created’ and ‘celebrated’ for others to copy. These celebrities are seen to be holding ideas and values, about success, health, beauty and fashion, which others will seek to follow, and so thereby fuel the consumer society.
This paper will examine some of these popular philosophies and look at the motivations which supports them. It is necessary to look also at how their ideas impact on the worlds of design and the environment.
In an age of digital communication, it is important to look at ways in which the power of the media in spreading these new ideas and influence people’s motivations and their goals.
In today’s consumer society, success demands the power of mass communications through the media of television, radio, music videos, social media and the all-powerful advertisements to broadcast an ever-expanding range of products and services that are being targeted at consumers in a way that can offer them more pleasure and happiness. (Wieczorkowska, 2008)
There is a worrying side to this spiralling consumer trend, as Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist and psychologist, pointed out at the beginning of the century.
Baumann considers that every person has a price and, as consumers, that they are there to be exploited. He addresses also the concept of consumers who have failed, these are people he could imagine to be witnesses to the disasters that await them. All in all, these people are the ‘end is nigh’ sandwich board men walking the roads to alarm or scare the true consumers. In his philosophy, the ultimate destiny of those who fail to acquit herself or himself in the consumer’s duties, should be used as a warning to others.
“People are cast in the underclass because they are seen as being totally useless; as a nuisance pure and simple, something the rest of us could do nicely without.” (Baumann, 2007)
The ‘underclass’ that Baumann is talking about are not only living in the world’s least developed countries. Today, more than ever, slavery puts a price on human lives, and people are trafficked between countries according to demand. The market has lost all its limits – time, space and morality. It offers everything to everybody. Some people are admitting that the buyers are delivered to goods, and not the other way around. Baumann says that shopping resembles to him as a marathon or a very long competition. For him, society is chasing something which constantly escapes its grasp.
Throughout the second half of last century until the present time, psychologists have searched to understand the causes of human behaviour and the motivations that drive it. Explaining the psychology of human needs – Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Social Needs’ determines that individuals seek to fulfill basic needs, like food and shelter, before moving on to the higher psychological and self-fulfilment needs. Maslow’s ideas are summed up in a five-tier model often presented within a pyramid.
Writing in 1996, Lykken and Tellegen suggested that happiness is partly inherited from birth, “some people are born happy”. Inglehart & Klingemann, 2000 looks at the environment and social factors that influence happiness.
To understand more about people’s behaviour and what impact on the worlds of design and the environmental society has, it is essential to uncover some aspects of social psychology. But what is social psychology about? As a science, it seeks to examine the behaviour of humans, and the ways in which they can be seen to be interacting with each other The formation of the social groups and the influences and pressures of these groups on their members. It is defined as the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings are influenced for example ‘by their surroundings as well as by our cultural and family background.’ (Aronson, Wilson, i Akert, Social Psychology, 2007)
Thinking more about social influence, and how it can be reflected by persuasion, it can be seen when one person deliberately attempts to alter another’s behaviour. This kind of activity happens through advertising campaigns whereby all society is bombarded with advertisements everyday life – passing to work, school or going just for a walk. The aim of creative people is to use elaborate techniques to encourage people to buy a particular brand of clothes, cosmetics or other product or by persuading them to vote for particular political candidate. (Boykin, 2017)
Social psychologists are more explicit. For them the reason is because people are preoccupied, not too much with social situations, but how society is affected by their own understanding of their social environment. Social psychologists are more concerned about insights. The way in which people see, understand, and interpret the social world influences their behaviour.
Human nature relates to philosophy as has a primary source of insight to it. A major part of the foundation of psychology comes from analytical thinking of philosophers. Through history, psychologists were researching into philosophy to find out more about how people form beliefs about social world however they have looked for insights into the nature of awareness too. Both social psychologists and philosophers addresses the same questions and their attempt is to look at these questions scientifically.
Moreover, one of the tasks for social psychologist is to make hypotheses about particular situations under which one result or the other would arise.
1.1 What does motivate people?
Considering human beings as complex organisms with different motivations which are manifest in many different thoughts and behaviours. There are two main motives that have been identified by social psychologists: the need to feel good about ourselves but also the need to make wise judgements. There is possibility that each of these motives can pull people in the same direction. But on the other hand, these motives can pull people in opposite directions. This can lead to conflict and the claim that others in society may be behaving irresponsibly or immorally.
Society has become increasingly conscious of preserving high self-esteem. The priority is to feel themselves as good, competent and decent. (Aronson, Wilson, i Akert, Social Psychology, 2007)
Leon Festinger says that because of the complex nature of the world, and of the whole of humanity, people will be found reacting in so many varied ways to the pressures that surround them and so, he judges that it is hard to discern the underlying dynamics. However, Festinger consider that it is his own fault as he did not ask adequate questions.
“The underlying dynamics are there, and I have to find the theoretical apparatus that will enable me to reveal these uniformities.”
One of the reasons why people perceive the world as they do can be due to the desire to maintain a well-off image of themselves; keeping up appearances. For them, it is the choice between changing the world to improve their well-being and, representing the world precisely. Often society is tempted to choose first option. It is easy way to feel better about themselves and conceal real image of themselves.
To understand ourselves more precisely, it is necessarily to ask questions like, ‘Who are you?’, ‘What made you this person you call ‘myself’?’. One of American psychologist, William James (1842-1910) explored the idea of a human’s perception of self. He appears possessed about people’s thoughts and beliefs about themselves, or what James (1890) described more simply as, the ‘me’.
For James, there are two aspects of the self which combine to present a compatible sense of identity-self-concept. These are the content of the self and self-awareness, which is the act of thinking about ourselves.
Researchers used a variation of the red-dye test with toddlers, by marking their faces with the dye and presenting them with a mirror to view their ‘changed’ self, to discover that the concept of ‘self’ develops at around the age of two years old. As people grow older, this primary self-concept becomes much more complex. To find how self-concept is changing from childhood to adulthood, psychologist are using the method of asking simple question – ‘Who are you?’ (Courage, Edison, i Howe, 2004)
To know themselves better is to look through introspection which is a psychological observation and analysis of mental conditions. It is a reflective view to study the ’inside information’ that people have about their thoughts, their feelings and their motives. This is a subjective study of consciousness, which mobilizes itself for reflection on one’s own life. Introspection involves precise consideration of one’s own:
- relationships with others
Self-observation is a good way to look at the psychological crisis or work on ourselves. This is how to understand the process and question the problems.
Society does not appear willing to spend some time to think about themselves. Even if people chooses to do introspection, the reasons for their feelings and behaviours can be hidden from their own conscious awareness. (Wilson T. D., Dunn, Kraft, i Lisle, 1989)
To find out how often people think about themselves, researchers in Hungary studied 107 employees, who were between 19 and 63, and who have worked at five different companies, to wear alarms for one week. The alarms set off a beep at casual intervals throughout the day, with an average of seven to nine alerts a day. (Csikszentmihalyi i Figurski, 1982)
When the participants heard the sound of the beeper, they were invited to answer a series of questions regarding their thoughts, moods and activities at that time.
Type of thought –column
(Adapted from (Csikszentmihalyi i Figurski, 1982)
The figure 1.1 shows that people thought about themselves were extraordinary little. More often people were thinking about their work or has ‘no thoughts’ at all. People do engage in introspection from time to time, it is not very demanding exercise, but perhaps not easily on demand.
1.3 Thoughts and Feelings
While self-analysis may provide difficult to carry out, simply on demand, the attitudes come from human’s experience and they can be often change in response to social influence. When people have both the motivation and ability to consider a message they take the most direct path, using persuasion, where they can closely weigh up to the strength of the arguments.
Researchers (Aronson, Wilson, i Akert, Social Psychology, 2007) found a number of ways that people can avoid being influenced by persuasive messages by:
- Making themselves immune to persuasion
- Not giving in to Peer Pressure
- Being aware of product placement
- Resisting the controlling pressure – Reactance
However, today’s society is bombarded by advertising from every direction. Advertisements can be images, video, audio and multimedia, that contain information combined with a persuasive message. Normally, its purpose is to provoke the purchase or use of certain goods or services, to promote specific businesses or ideas eg a new iPhone, an airline or to reinforce policies of government intended to reduce global warning or air pollution. The advertising industry employs many graphic designers and the metadata they employ ensures that their work reaches a tightly focused target audience.
People thoughts and feelings are subtly influenced and manipulated by targeted adverts found in social media like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Advertising comes in many different forms. Some have reliable product characteristics, like those that are found mainly in the specialist press. But, more sinisterly, adverts can be found praising a product without reliable content information, as in some channels of social media, especially YouTube but often attributed to some forms of television advertising where lifestyle is promoted within a TV Programme eg Grand Designs.
The power of advertising effectively changes people’s attitudes. At this point, people can become absorbed in the world of propaganda: drawn by the falsity and hypocrisy, they become victims of manipulation by advertising.
The public cannot avoid advertising. Attacked everyday, and everywhere, by seeing campaigns and posters which hypnotise people with their offers of products and services and promises of a better life. Sometimes without even knowing, people pay no attention to all the posters around them. In the end the messages are recorded by their brain, and the only sensible solution is to reconcile the fact of their interaction by learning the mechanisms of persuasion and trying to neutralize the effects that they exert on them.
To be continued…
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow Abraham (1908-1970) was one of the best-known American psychologist of the twentieth century but also remarkable personality theorist. He was born in Brooklyn and lived from. Maslow’s aim was to develop a more expansive theory of human motivation. Empowered the ‘Hierarchy of needs,” Maslow’s theory provided the opportunity for a radical reform the science of psychology.
2.1 Five tier model
Maslow suggested a classification of fundamental needs in five categories: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization in order to demonstrate what motivates people. The five-tier model often presented as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Once level is content, the subsequent one will appear as the weak need seeking to be satisfied.
At the basic level are the physical needs, including air, water, food, rest and exercise. If those needs are not meet then one’s motivation will arise from the desire to satisfy them.
Safety and security needs are on a second level and comprise safety, security, protection and freedom from fear. According to Maslow’s hierarchy, if person feels that he or she is in harm’s way, higher needs will not receive much attention.
Only at the third level does Maslow identify the social needs, including the need for love, affection, emotional needs, warmth and friendship. If basic needs have been met then the higher level motivators arise. Social needs are connected and interact with the others.
Esteem needs appeal to prestige and feelings of accomplishment. Self-esteem referring to self-respect, self-confidence, recognition. Maslow explained his model to include a level between esteem and self-actualization and the need for aesthetics and knowledge.
At the top level, self-actualization needs are found at the point when personal potential is achieved, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and achieving peak experiences.
Maslow calculated that only a small percentage of the population, 2%, reaches the level of self-actualization. Near his own death he drew up a list of people he considered to have reach their full potential. On the list was ‘Einstein, Mother Teresa, Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and himself!’ (McLeod, 2017)
According to Douglas Kenrick at Arizona State University, the attraction of Maslow’s hierarchy was seen in its simplicity and the fact that it can be discovered by simply observing the stages of children’s development.
“I have a child who is six years old and I noticed that when he was an infant he couldn’t care less about public opinion,” Kenrick says. “In kindergarten he started to worry about making friends but he didn’t really care about getting respect from those people. And now he’s in the first grade and you can see he’s beginning to think about his friends’ opinions and what status they hold him in.”
“The revamp of Maslow’s pyramid reflects new findings and theory from fields such as neuroscience, developmental psychology and evolutionary psychology,” said Douglas Kenrick, an ASU professor of psychology and lead author of the paper, “Renovating the pyramid of needs: Contemporary extensions built upon ancient foundations.” The paper was published in the May issue of Perspectives on Psychological Sciences.
‘Despite becoming one of psychology’s most memorable images, Maslow’s pyramid hasn’t always been supported by scientific research’, said Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation professor and co-author of the paper.
Happiness and materialism
It is not easy to define such a complex term as happiness. Mystical happiness has little in common with those who are leaders and with the character of “simple people” who are looking for happiness. There are different definitions of happiness. Looking at philosophy, it too offers a wide range between various approaches to this matter.
One of the greatest thinkers in the history of western science and philosophy, Aristotle considered happiness as the highest desire and ambition of all human beings. In his opinion, the way to it links through cultivation of virtue. In other words, if one cultivates the noblest virtues, that person will reach happiness.
Aristotle believed ‘happy life required the fulfilment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being.’ (The pursuit of happiness, 2016)
“Happiness depends on ourselves.”
However, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has described happiness as “the ideal state of indolence”. A life without worries or sorrows. Nietzsche disagreed that happiness is a permanent state of well-being. It can be short and can end at any time. Being happy refers to be able to reveal this life force by overcoming adversity and creating the original path of life. Nietzsche stated that happiness is a kind of control one has over their environment. (Nudelman i Weller, 9 of the Greatest Philosophers reveal the secret of happiness. , 2017)
According to José Ortega y Gasset – Spanish philosopher presents happiness when people finding a way to combine ‘dream life’ with ‘real life’ into one piece.
Ortega y Gasset said that all human beings are potentially desire happiness. This means that each person defines his or her own reality and determines what will make her happy. If a person really is able to achieve this goal, then he will reach the full of happiness. (Nudelman i Weller, 9 of the Greatest Philosophers reveal the secret of happiness, 2017)
Observations carried out with a group of adults who attend a Perth gym, revealed a wide range of aspirations and motivations. Eight people, aged from 17-42 agreed to take part in a focus group study where they are asked to consider three things that influenced their decisions about lifestyle and hopes for the future. They were asked to consider how much their education had been an influence on their lifestyle; to consider to what extent ethical concerns influenced their shopping; and how they would spend a large sum of money if they won it on the lottery.
It was clear they all shared a similar hope for a healthy lifestyle, although two admitted to occasional smoking and more than half were likely to consume more than the Scottish Government’s recommended lower risk guidelines for alcohol in a week.
Craig (38) is married and has two children aged 11 and 13. He is a delivery driver and wishes for happiness for his family and that they would have a good education and have a better start in life than he had having left school at 16. Craig reported that his 13 year old daughter was more likely to warn him about unethical purchase through what she had been learning from her teachers. If he won a serious about of money he felt that he would see his family could share in his success but also wished to make a large contribution to a cancer charity.
Lisa (23) is not in a relationship and has no children. She wishes to have nice clothes and a comfortable home. She admits that clothes are a comfort she turns to when she needs to be cheered up. She would like to think that, based on the information that is available on labels and what she reads about companies, that she would not buy goods that involved taking away from other people’s human rights. If she won an amazing amount of money she would like to do something to help reduce world poverty.
Grant (42) has three grown up children and one grandson. He thinks people are more important than money. “Cash isn’t everything. You can’t just buy happiness”. But he also thought that the idea of a ‘living wage’ was important. “Without enough cash for the basics it puts pressure on relationships.”
Everyone has their own recipe to become a happy person. But from the other hand is scientifically proven that happiness is partly genetic – some people may have experienced that they were ‘born with a happier temperament than others,’ (Lykken i Tellegen, 1996) and most of the psychologists agree with this hypothesis.
- Controlled happiness
Nevertheless, happiness can be controlled. There are three very influential factors which lead to a sense of happiness; being in good relationships with other people, helping them, and pursuing something a person loves.
Good social relationships, involving spending quality time with others, sharing their hobbies and their interests is a major source of happiness. It is proved that those who spend more time with others appear to become happier people than those whose lives develop in a more egocentric way. Sociable people live longer too.
An act of kindness, helping somebody who needs help, is making people feel good about themselves and their view about themselves will improve in a more positive light. To give unselfish help to somebody, increases the production of oxytocin in the brain, which in turn reduces the harmful effects of stress on human’s body. Being good and helping others also releases endorphins, which are the hormones of happiness that reduce pain and make person feel positive emotions.
Altruism and enabling others by giving people strength, and helping to improve their quality of life, relationships, work ambitions or other goals.
Those who want to achieve goals and make progress towards them, are working at something they enjoy. It appears that those people are happier. Someone who is highly absorbed with in task, making efforts towards to it, and noticing its first positive effects, in sport, art or simply playing a game, can be seen to be ‘on a roll.’ It is a pleasurable but also highly desirable state. (Csikszentimihalyi, 1997)
When the goal is achieved, people are proud of themselves what they have completed and they are no longer ‘lost’ in the pursuit of their aim. Chasing and trying to accomplish something in an enjoyable way often makes people happier than getting it.
Unfortunately, society has found itself forced to live in materialistic world; forced to buy things it doesn’t need and don’t have money to buy. All of this leads to lack of happiness.
Materialism flatters to deceive its followers with happiness. Influenced by present trends, society races to have more better than everyone else. Vanity and narcissism feeds materialism and it can even lead to low self-esteem which eventually modify to depression. And that is only one of the many consequences that materialism can cause person’s health.
But what are the roots of materialism? When did it began? Why does it have such a huge impact on society today?
Materialism is a paradox
It is easy to see how those who are homeless and who are struggling to find a food and a shelter are obviously less deemed to be less happy. In contrast, those who all the basics, food, clothes, house, car etc. ought to be much happier. Lottery winners, with thousands or even millions of pounds ought to be is some sort of Utopia. But money does not necessarily improve their lives. Researchers at the San Francisco State University shows that people who put money and material values at the top, more often suffer from lower self-esteem, higher narcissism, and more often they compare themselves with others. Those people have lower levels of empathy, less internal motivation. Their relationships with others are poorer and more filled with conflict. As a result, they experience less satisfaction from life. Dreams of becoming a millionaire evoke stress, and from the other hand, stress impedes the increase of income bringing on frustration and a spiral of stress.
Happiness bought by money is false and transitory; fake happiness.
Sadly, with continued economic development around the world, materialism has grown out of hand. According to research, materialism does not only give happiness, but it also causes its destruction. It also leads to mental illness and detach people from other, important aspects of life. It takes ordinary joy, pulls away from the ones closest and puts unrealistic high expectations that can lead to constantly felt anger, frustration and even depression. Materialism is a tool to repair the hole in self-esteem, it can be used to conceal the lack of confidence and fear. The more person desire materialistic things, the more person feel uncomfortable and has more needs.
- Based on experiences
However, people who are less materialistic saying they are enjoying much more fulfilled lives, and some studies shows that materialists can be almost as happy if they have the money and their conventional lifestyle does not find a conflict with more simplistic pursuits.
The sensible way to spend spare cash is on experiences. Material goods fade, get out-dated and possessiveness tends to make people less sociable whereas, experiences improve with time in the memory. Experiences are less quantitative insofar as they are more personal and more qualitative. Experiences are definitely more sociable too.
Experiential products, like skiing and adventure holidays, enable people to have hobby, passion and some activities. ‘Buying ice skates, allow to experience ice skating, buying books allow to people to experience the author’s mind and buying ticket to theatre let experience art, music and poetry.’ (Dean, 2014)
The researchers at San Francisco State University tested out how these three types of purchases affect people’s happiness. (Guevarra & Howell, 2014) People were asked about various purchases they had recently made and what impact had it on them. As expected, purely material purchases made people the least happy, but the experiential products made people just as happy as the pure experiences.
Consumption is to be seen as opportunities that offer chances for happiness. A more accurate view of how various expenditures impact on an individual’s well-being is imperative in order to help these individuals make the best used of their spending decisions. Buying life experiences instead of material items can make people happier. But if a material item is necessary it is wise to make sure the item is provided with the experience – for example in a gift shop at the end of a visit to a Castle. Experiential products enable to people to gain greater knowledge or skills, and that is a major factor which can lead to pure happiness and satisfaction.
“There’s a narrowing in the gap between materialists and non-materialists in respect to their levels of life satisfaction, as materialists’ income is seen to rise,” notes Edward Diener, PhD, a researcher of subjective well-being and materialism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Diener, 1984)
“So if you’re poor, it’s very bad to be a materialist; and if you’re rich, it doesn’t make you happier than nonmaterialists, but you almost catch up,” stated Diener.
Diener explains that the connection between mental wellbeing and materialism is not such a simple one. While, in his view, researchers are determined to justify that materialism creates unhappiness, or that unhappiness feeds even more materialism, or both. Diener understands that several phenomenon may contribute to such folly and simple terms, a strong consumerist bent, or what William Wordsworth in 1807 called “getting and spending.” (Wordsworth, 1807) Such behaviour can promote unhappiness because it takes time away from the things that can nurture happiness, including relationships with family and friends, as research shows. (Deangelis, 2004)
- “You are the part of the problem”
Controversial, and at the same time touching, says the Huffington Post Blog “If You Shop on Thanksgiving, You Are Part of the Problem” written by Matt Walsh, fairly demonstrate the holiday shopping by present culture: “Everybody buy. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Just buy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have money. Just buy. Our entire civilization now rests on the assumption that, no matter what else happens, we will all continue to buy lots and lots of things. Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. And then buy a little more. Don’t create, or produce, or discover — just buy. Never save, never invest, never cut back — just buy…”
What the author is trying to say by that it is, the culture becoming more and more consumer and desire material possessions with no limits, no morality. People are deprived by respect and dignity to themselves. Losing genuine view what is relevant nowadays and the happiness lost the real meaning to society. (Walsh, 2014)
Materialistic people are making a lot of effort to improve their prosperity by earning money, anticipating that it is their way to become happy. It raises the question; “Why materialistic people cannot find the happiness in their well-being in which they have been working for it so hard and sacrificing their time and energy for it, nevertheless their relationships with other people? It is paradox of materialism.
Materialists have high motives to achieve something what is significant to them and the stronger is motivation, the more is possibility to achieve intended effect. However, efforts itself to gain ‘lucre’ or, more simply, ‘grubby money’ supported by given tasks or other activities are providing a real sense of satisfaction and make people happy, but once they have the money they have, their attitude towards them is changing and they are no longer as happy as in the phase of efforts for them.
The more money a person has, the less he or she enjoys and the more likely he or she is to lose, which in turn causes stress. Therefore, money is a great value to those who do not have them, and when they succeed, they lose their subjective value. Psychological well-being depends on the value humans attribute to money, not on money itself.
Despite numerous researches, deplorable stories and ominous examples from the first pages of newspapers, money still seems to be the greatest good, the happiness and the dream of many people.
For some people in society today, the pursuit of happiness is less self-centred. They seek a world that is sure to provide for their children’s future. In that way, they are not just looking at their own happiness. It is relevant to look deeply into sustainable living. What should really matter nowadays to humanity is global warming, changing climate and the destruction of the ozone layer.
Green groups and campaigners are promoting sustainable living. But yet what is it really mean to become a practitioner of a sustainable living?
Sustainable living it is about person’s actions are harmless integrated with the natural world, in the way to support healthy human’s development and which one can be continued in the future which leads to taking care of the nature, of people’s health and relationships with others. To improve people’s lifestyle is to make them aware what impacts they can have on the environment. It is an alert and an opportunity to for people to assimilate actions for sustainable living that might improve their lives by reducing their carbon footprint or environmental impact by modifying their lifestyles. (DMCA. Earth Eclipse, 2017)
Using less of the planet’s natural resources, and diminishing the impacts of polluting waste, can improve the environment but also ensures the availability of substantial resources for future generations. But to start practising sustainable lifestyle it is essential to change people’s habitual behaviours.
The determination to re-use, recycle and correctly dispose of products to with the purpose of keeping toxins out of water, soil and air has become a part of responsible business’ mission statements. By purchasing recycled products and by re-using what people already have, less waste is generated. It is wise to design and build better quality products, which may last longer.
Environmentalists will also promote the idea that those products which are no longer useful to an individual, could be donated to charity or to someone else who will use them again. Being aware of the products, which reached the end of their useful life to know where they can be recycled.
Making sensible food choices – healthy and nutritious. It has an environmental impact of choosing food. Acknowledge how food is grown, processed, packaged and transported. The excess packaging rise serious health effects to humans and animals and infect the environment.
Choosing public transport and sharing transportation can reduce environmental impacts from vehicle emissions. But also walking or bicycling will improve health and reduce the strain on public health resources. Choosing to telecommute can help to reduce your carbon footprint significantly and can help to reduce the emission of health-harming pollutants. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Sustainability, 2012)
By switching to renewable energy sources and away from more traditional fossil fuels societies aim to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. Installing solar panels for solar water heating. Asking for an advice to utility if there is any solution to add clean power to grid so as to offset carbon footprint.
Designing homes that are more eco-friendly is recommended by planners and governments in order to make sure that homes are full efficient. since buying smaller homes purely is going to consume less energy than bigger. Reducing the amount of energy by putting heat or cool home, reduce the use of resources and pollution. Replacing incandescent light bulbs to CFL and LED or designing buildings with more natural light ca distinctly reduce the demand on energy resources and this
Those are the factors, which can support healthy human’s development. Practicing a sustainable lifestyle will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by changing people’s routine and habits from opting for different forms of transport and reducing energy consumption to a balanced diet.
‘The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.’ (Scottish Government, 2017)
to be continued
6.1 Club of Rome Limits to Growth
The Club of Rome is made up of high level politicians, heads of state and former heads of state, economists, academics and other. It was founded in April 1968 by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, a Scottish scientist. It describes itself as “an organisation of individuals who share a common concern for the future of humanity and strive to make a difference. ….. promote an understanding of the global challenges facing humanity and to propose solutions through scientific analysis, communication and advocacy.”
In 1972, an US environmental scientist, Donella Meadows, was invited to write a report for the recently founded Club of Rome. It was to be entitled, ‘The Limits to Growth’ (Meadows, 1972)and aimed to address the ‘predicament of mankind’ which was the challenge that the Club wanted to solve.
The predicament was that the population of the worlds was growing rapidly and that the world’s natural resources were running out.
Meadows identified the problem with most human perspectives was that they thought only in the short term:
Her writings were clearly inspired by those of Rachel Carson, among others and the period of writing was less than 10 years after Carson’s untimely death from cancer. It was a time too of student protest. As it was for Carson, human disregard for the natural world strongly motivated Meadows and her colleagues.
6.2 Small is beautiful
While looking at ways to create more sustainable development, it I appropriate to pay tribute to a scientist credited with focusing thinking on the issue.
More than 50 years after environmentalist Rachel Carson published her work, Silent Spring, and her impact on thinking about the relationship between human development and the natural world are still strongly debated. In her book, she wrote about a world in which Spring came but not birds were there to sing. She changed people’s ideas about the use of pesticides and especially DDT. She was most influential in getting its use banned in the 1970s. Her critics say that she exaggerated her claims and that she is responsible for millions of deaths of people from Malaria. DDT had been the most effective pesticide in the control of the disease. (Colombo, 1996-2017)
Carson wrote, “Nature has introduced great variety into the landscape, but man has displayed a passion for simplifying it. Thus he undoes the built-in checks and balances by which nature holds the species within bounds.” (Carson, Darling, i Darling, 1962) Silent Spring, 1962. Rachel Carson is hitting out at people’s blind ambition to profit at the expensive of other people’s suffering.
She pointed out the dangers. Industry hated this because it affcted their profits from the chemical – and also from the increased production they enjoyed from pest free crops. For some people it is about profit , from others- it’s about he future and the environment and also about the fairness for rich and poor.
Pesticides stop bugs from destroying crops – pests like the cotton weevil – reduces the crop by 30-40% of its value. Insecticides kill the weevil – and the planation owner makes mire cash – and the chemical company makes profit too. But the effects on harmless wildlife is terrible. Even worse – the chemicals cause horrible effects on human’s health. Not just when spraying the crop – but even eating the food. Chemicals leak through the soil and into rivers – killing and poisoning fish. Other people say that the chemical DDT is good – because to would certainly have saved millions of lives from Malaria – it is a good chemical to fight mosquito – but it is seriously harmful to the environment and to humans in the longer term.
Carson made many enemies in the agricultural and chemical industries, an American industrialist said, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth” (McLaughin, 2010)
Leo Hickman’s Environment Blog, Guardian, 2012, collected many reflections on Carson’s impact on opinion as part of his 50th anniversary tribute to the scientist. (Hickman, 2012)
- Our common future Agenda 2 Political – Eco design, eco-design directory
6.3 Hannover Principles
Architect and Designer William McDonough was commissioned to create sustainable design principles for EXPO 2000 in Hannover. He set out some beautiful ideas which inspired his thoughts.
“If design is the first signal of human intention, our intention today can be to love all ten billion people who will live on our planet by 2050. We can do this.”(McDonough, 2012) —William McDonough
The idea that design is in some way a pre-meditation for the way people lead their lives is a good one. It shows that decisions taken today will have an impact on coming generations. When compared with philosophies that suggest that an individual’s happiness and self-fulfilment is their best goal it is easy to see that this is a much more responsible approach.
McDonough had already proved himself to be an inspirational designer before he was asked to draw up what became known as the Hannover Principles in 1992. On preparing to host EXPO 2000, the city of Hannover chose ‘Humanity, Nature and Technology’ as its theme. Connecting all three, and trying to find a balance between them was a challenge. With increased numbers of people living in urban areas it was obvious to McDonough that many had long past lost the connection between human living and the natural environment.
McDonough identifies one definition of the idea of sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (General Assembly, 1987) He felt that this was a limited definition since it sees the issue from a only human view. To be successful, he wished to explore the idea from the viewpoint of nature and technology too.
He felt that the was much to learn from history and from different cultures too, like aboriginal societies.
“We must employ both current knowledge and ancient wisdom in our efforts to conceive and realize the physical transformation, care and maintenance of the Earth.”
The principles he set out were:
1. Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist
2. Recognize interdependence.
3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter.
4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design
5. Create safe objects of long-term value
6. Eliminate the concept of waste.
7. Rely on natural energy flows.
8. Understand the limitations of design.
9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge.
“The Hannover Principles.”(McDonough, 2012)
All of this can be seen to be hugely influential in the field of sustainable design over the past 25 years.
6.4 Sustainable everyday
- Sustainable everyday
6.5 Social Innovation exchange
- Social Innovation exchange
(sustainability development) are showing the way in which people’s lifestyle decisions can be influenced by moral decisions – such as the environemnt and social justice – no more exploitation – and not just for their own happiness. And the role of advertising and design can play.
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