Opening your mind to Sustainability
I’m just updating the presentation for Wednesday’s Green Academy webinar: 12 Winning Sustainability Mindsets which is my favourite of the year. I am increasingly convinced of the truth of my maxim “The biggest barrier to Sustainability is just six inches wide, the space between our ears.” And when I say “our”, I mean all of us, not just those who don’t get Sustainability but also those who do.
I’m forever seeing experienced Sustainability hands trying tired old techniques and approaches who are impervious to new ways of thinking. The most controversial blog I’ve ever written here was “Has the waste hierarchy passed its sell-by date?” Those who started foaming at the mouth, one of whom entertainingly admitted to not having read the article before decrying an argument I wasn’t making, seemed oblivious to the idea that a rule of thumb developed in 1979 may not be entirely relevant today. The article was partially inspired by a senior Government policy maker saying that he hadn’t reconciled the circular economy with the waste hierarchy – to which there is a very simple answer: “you don’t have to.”
I’ve always taken a ‘if it ain’t working, try something else until you find an approach that does’ attitude to Sustainability. I’m one of the few people I know who uses backcasting to develop effective sustainability strategies (I learnt about it from The Natural Step, so it has been around for quite a while, but remains bafflingly unpopular despite working really well), I still rarely find others using Green Jujitsu engagement techniques, despite having trained more than five thousand practitioners in the approach. I still find practitioners depressing their audiences with predictions of doom before trying to get them to take action, something which has been tried for almost 60 years with decidedly mixed results.
My plea to all is take a step back and think “is this working?” If it is, then keep doing it, but look for improvement opportunities. If it isn’t, try something else. Join us on Wednesday if you want to run through some of the options!