When we first started talking about creating a new sustainability community, we were very clear that we wanted it to be a positive movement. Too often, the idea of sustainability is tied up with negativity — it’s about the need to give up things that we enjoy, to sacrifice convenience and to reduce our quality of life. We don’t believe that this has to be true. We also don’t believe that we will bring about the huge change required if this is how we frame the discussion on sustainability. Yes, the facts are sobering and we need to face the reality of climate change, loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution and ocean acidification, but now we need to use this sense of grief and urgency to focus on the positive future that we can create.
It’s hard to break out of our patterns of thinking or to reimagine the world in which we live. For example, much of the discussion around the single use plastic crisis focuses on replacing single use plastic items with reusable alternatives. This isn’t necessarily a bad place to start, but we also need to be aware of the complexity and interwoven aspects of sustainability. If we can reimagine the way that things are done, we might find a different and better way to do things. To take a simple example, many of us could drink straight from a glass rather than requiring a straw of any kind — plastic, metal, paper or bamboo.
This is why we have planned our first series of events to be themed ‘Imagine A World…’. We want to start by allowing our imaginations to run wild and to imagine a different way of living. We want to start questioning why we do things and imagining how we could do them radically differently. By bringing together people with different expertise and interests, we can work together to create an exciting and nuanced vision.
Dreaming big is exciting, but what counts is action. Once we’ve conjured up this image of the future, we need to work out what we can do now to start making it a reality. It’s too easy to go to events and leave feeling inspired but without a clear picture of what to do with that inspiration. We are building a community of optimists who want to put in the work to help make their dreams a reality. We’ll be using our vision to make a plan for how we can work individually and together to start making big change.