Sustainability… as a toaster?
No. I haven’t gone crazy with snowbound cabin fever, I just happened to (re)read something about Steve Jobs which reminded me that Jobs’ original concept for the Apple Mac was a computer like a toaster. Instead of having to immerse yourself in the arcane language and concepts of computer science and remember the secret codes of command line interfaces, you’d pull your Mac out of the box, plug it in and use it. Fast forward 35-odd years and toddlers can operate an iPad without knowing what an iPad is (I remember one of mine trying to ‘swipe’ the pages of a baby book as a tot).
What a brilliant analogy for how Sustainability should be. Far too many practitioners work on the premise that we have to change the worldview of 7.6 billion people, and then struggle to change behaviour in a couple of hundred in their organisation. They expect people to jump through hoops, accept shoddy systems, products and services, and dress everything up in a hair-shirt and wonder why people won’t join their guilt trip. If you read a “we won’t get to Sustainability without mindfulness” article, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
If we really want to make Sustainability happen then we’ve got to follow the Apple philosophy of simple, intuitive and desirable. If people take Sustainable options without even realising what they are doing, that’s A-OK with me.