Sustainability Professionals: Stay Curious!
One of my favourite things about Sustainability is it’s a rare day that I don’t learn something interesting. This is vital for me: whatever it is in my life, I need to keep learning or I get very bored, very, very quickly. I’m never comfortable in the comfort zone. And I hate working to someone else’s rigid specification as my methods are designed to start with a blank canvass, not join someone else’s dots.
I know many other Sustainability professionals who think the same way. The members of our Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group pay good money to keep themselves pushing forward, challenging their own assumptions and translating others’ experience to apply to themselves. I facilitate the Group, chipping in occasionally, but I don’t position myself as The Guru – I learn as much as the members. People who look at the Group and say ‘that’s not for me’ fall into two camps: those lacking confidence in the value they can bring (a great shame, everybody can contribute), and those who think they know it all already (spoiler: they don’t).
I do take some perverse relish in challenging such complacency. My blog on Monday asking if the waste hierarchy has had its day was the most popular thing I’ve written in a long time. Some loved it, some disagreed, but a number recoiled in horror. One person criticised my piece on Twitter, admitting they hadn’t actually read it. Sustainability is not a religion, the waste hierarchy is not carved in stone, and I’m no Martin Luther, but you’d’ve thought I’d committed heresy.
And this is important. The one thing we know about a future sustainable society is that it will be very different to what we have today. To get there, the discipline of Sustainability itself needs to evolve to keep the momentum going, pushing the boundaries, challenging our own assumptions and developing new techniques. And it is vital that we don’t get bored or frustrated. Let’s stay curious!