Sustainability versus Climate Change
I recently ran a sustainability workshop in a town located in Northern NSW, beautiful town, on a river prone to flooding, near the ocean but low lying and in an area most hit by the global financial crisis. So while we were setting up for the workshop I asked a few of the local community a couple of questions.
Is climate change an important issue for the community? No, not really. The majority of people don’t really believe in climate change, we have natural weather cycles. OK I thought a fairly common response, that’s ok.
What about green buildings, building green and such? No, not really. We don’t really see a need for that where we live.
OK keep pressing I thought. I left it a couple of minutes, talked about politics and such and then asked.
So, what about sustainability? Their eyes lit up, their heads lifted, body language changed. Oh yes, absolutely, it’s one of our key issues. Wow, OK so…
Sustainability means lots of things to many people, in general what does sustainability mean to your community? Well lots of things – energy efficiency, renewable energy – a lot of people have those solar panel things on their homes, energy security, food – food costs and availability are a big issue, transport – the cost of fuel is huge here, and flooding – we live in a low lying area on a flood plain and our house insurance is going up.
The lesson from the story, just because someone doesn’t believe in one particular aspect of our future challenges doesn’t mean they don’t believe in all of it.
Climate change has been made political and a belief. Your either a climate change believer or a non-believer, like religion. It’s not safe to talk about it at the dinner parties anymore.The very mention of the world polarises us immediately but talk about sustainability and you can engage anyone in a conversation as to how we need to adopt, adapt and align the different aspects of our lifestyles.
Climate change is an outcome of our unsustainability, so shift the talk to the more palatable ‘sustainability’ and we will solve climate change anyway.