For sustainability to be a reality, humanity should make a quantum shift in consciousness. A change in thinking of human beings as singular entities, to knowing our plurality. A change away from greedy selfishness and towards inclusive generosity. Presently, most individuals are motivated by”me” instead of”we.” This self-centered mindset is ruining our planet. Resources are being depleted at an alarming rate, and the future of this planet appears increasingly bleak. We’re at a tipping point. For our planet to become sustainable, humanity must join together globally and combine in its attempts to introduce genuinely sustainable practices. This unification starts with each individual realizing they’re a valuable part of the macrocosm, and that their efforts to make a difference.
In accordance with UCLA.edu, “Sustainability is most frequently defined as meeting the requirements of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.” Sustainability has three main pillars: 1) Fiscal or gain; 2) Environmental or world and; 3) Social or individuals. Each of these facets can either contribute or detract from the objective of establishing human-ecosystem equilibrium.
Although I remain an optimist, after finishing my research for this article I was dazed by the dire environmental conditions we now face. Also feeling a bit hopeless, I turned into my internal Michael Moore and went about interviewing several individuals of varied ages and backgrounds regarding their perspectives on sustainability for the ground. That is where I found hope for sustaining for our planet.
The first group I interviewed live on a tropical piece of property in upcountry Maui. They grow their own food, create sun and wind energy, and share community meals and chores. 1 member, a father of 2, shared his belief that a worldwide money could potentially support sustainability instead of defeat it. Another resident, age 24, excitedly shared with me the findings of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current. Tesla also found a very low-cost method of transmitting electricity, but this technology was not developed, largely as a result of economic interests. I felt a power and humility in these two young guys, that are doing their part to change the world. Their simple lifestyles and mindful consumption make for an extremely light carbon footprint. They are living examples of affecting the three pillars of sustainability: economy, the environment, and individuals, in a positive manner.
Yet, the simple fact remains that this tiny farm is the exception rather than the rule. A lot of people, as their incomes rise, automatically adjust their intake accordingly. They buy larger cars, houses, trips, toys, etc. We’ve set the example for the world, and therefore, as third world nations rapidly develop, they also are becoming more soul-sick, purchasing and consuming more and more with no thought of their environmental costs. Overwhelming as it might look, it’s important not to lose sight of what it might look like in a world where stability and respect for one another prevail.
Imagine everyone in the world worked together to care for the sources and shared them so nobody went without sufficient food, water, or shelter. There are no separate nations, instead, there’s a worldwide consciousness of”one world” where unity, harmony, and peace prevail. In this alternative world, scientists focus on discovering the new renewable power and life-giving answers to health issues. The market is based on helping individuals as opposed to hurting people. Animals and plants are revered and the people feel that a part of the lifespan as opposed to the dominator of it. Unlike planet Earth today, where poverty, wars, and cruelty to humankind, the animals, and the environment prevail, this new world is peaceful, abundant and aware of the inherent interconnectedness of all beings. There’s a profound understanding that in case you hurt you, you hurt all. Fear and greed aren’t the driving forces, and rather, life is admired and united.