Sustainability for families — a new approach

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

My last post was about the disruption of COVID-19 on the sustainability message to other families and how much it shifted the priorities from a ‘let’s do better’ to a ‘let’s try not to get COVID’. On the positive side, I do think that we, as a family, try our best to be as sustainable as possible -and we are succeeding!

My thinking is that a new approach would take advantage of the COVID situation so that I make families realise that what they are already doing in the pandemic times is a sustainable lifestyle (shopping less, limiting their vacations, less commuting to work and saving CO2 emissions, etc.) Hence, the sum of all these activities provides an excellent baseline to get the right message through.

Even though I see this as the right approach, there are multiple issues. For example, I can understand that for most, the COVID lifestyle is not sustainable. Further, some families have been already ‘traumatised’ by what they had to live and the drastic measures they took. In this case, bringing the message as ‘remember what the lifestyle was in the COVID peak, and you were able to make it’ may not be the something appealing for some.

Another issue I see is how much people want to get back to ‘normal’ ways of living (pre-COVID), which is going back to a less-sustainable lifestyle. The issue here is the resistance to change that people (and families) have even when the changes directly affect their wellbeing (in this case the benefit is not ‘saving the planet’ but rather ‘not getting COVID’). For me, this resistance behaviour was shocking even when the results of your actions can be experienced in 14 days and not in decades — like some environmental issues.

Based on my observation, it may be possible in the short term to benefit from the COVID; however, this change will most likely not be a long-lasting one. I know that for our family this is an ever extreme change that we have adopted, but it is undoubtedly not simple to sustain it. Thus, I understand how other families are already thinking about their shift back to ‘regular’ lifestyle. I do believe that stepwise, incremental changes may be necessary to provide a sustained change; however, families may need support on sustainability issues.

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David Mu

David Mu

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