The trouble with sustainability – apart from how it’s said to sound too technical – is that it may be “a good thing” (if explained correctly), but not truly a problem that requires a solution. By the time you notice that you want it, the shit will have hit the fan.
Long before people suggested location-independent work or lifestyle design, you only had to watch MacGyver to find that an all-around knowledge could get you around in the world, and let you make a living solving problems. My dream, since then, would have been for an agency of sustainable solutions and ecological lifestyle design. After all, development can’t just be making more money (or somehow scraping by), let alone building more factories and having more shoppers, but should be guided by a vision of something better – at the very least, a sense of possibility.
Still, sustainability is not just one problem where you identify the source and change it. Movies and TV series may be based on that sort of thing. Even in “The Day after Tomorrow,” you have the few people you are led to care about, and that there are thousands (millions?) others who suffer or die is no matter. “One death is a tragedy, a million are just statistics.” And sustainability is so difficult because much of the challenge we face is based simply on the way we do things now, plain, simple, and the normal way.
As evidenced by my writing here, I haven’t given up hope that we as individuals are looking for something more in life than just money or personal pleasure, without any regard for others and our surroundings. Happiness may appear a very egoistic pursuit, but since we live as a part of communities, both of people and in a wider ecological-scientific sense, it cannot eventually be a solipsistic pursuit. Of course, there are those who do, in fact, not care about anyone but themselves – but these are not the audience here, and when the normal way becomes something different, they will just tag along anyways.
The problem is how to make a living working in this area. Worldchanging just went belly-up, and viable business models are hard to come by: who would pay for being told to live differently, who invite critics suggesting that increasing shareholder value in the next quarter is not the only milestone to work towards?
Then again, CSR (corporate social responsibility) has become something of a trend, some national accounting is attempting to go beyond GDP alone, and self-help literature (and coaching?) remains a strong section. A good life will not just come from wishing that it were so, however. “The Secret” is hogwash, a happy life is just like hard work: it IS hard work.
Hard work that you will find to be worth it.
Still, the question remains: apart from a book (or yet another website, ahem) telling that you should do something, what can be done to make a work (as in, something that will also help you make a living) of education and action for ecological lifestyles?