Expanding Public Awareness

We are now in the last month of 2012 the year when the big transition is supposed to happened.  It has certainly been a powerful year of awakening.  But I believe that the extreme weather is what has actually turned the tide in the direction of real change.  The public is finally waking up to the fact that Climate Change is here and it is altering our ways of life.

Just in the time since Hurricane Sandy we have seen important voices such as the World Bank and other big institutions showing that we must take Climate Change into consideration in all our actions.

As this article in the UK Guardian’s Sustainable Business tells us: Let’s change the business paradigm – and save the planet. The scale of the planetary crisis is so big that a fundamental shift is needed from company leaders, as well as consumers

We are learning that our throwaway culture is contributing to climate change.  This is something each of us can turn around.  In this article: The high cost of our throwaway culture, we can see how this has happened and what we can do about it.

Trend reports show how people are translating their sustainable values into investments that are making a difference. See this article: How sustainable investors impact industries and corporate policies.

I have come to understand from the The Pachamama Alliance’s work is there are actually three areas that we must focus on for a really big shift to happen: Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice and Spiritual fulfillment.

Sustainability is not just about Green Energy.  It is about using the limited resources of the earth in a way that not only doesn’t deplete them but actually enhances them. This must be transformed in every aspect of our life.  There is a lot going on in this area but much more needed to be done.  Ethical farming, ethical investment and on and on it goes.  Businesses are waking up to the importance of this for their own survival.  Lobbying the businesses where we work and the communities where we live to commit to sustainable life styles is happening all over the world.  If everyone did something, things would happen more quickly.

Justice is about being aware of not destroying people or places so that we can have what we want. Looking at the value chains of the products we use is one way to ensure that there are no inhuman situations producing the food we eat or the clothes we wear.  The recent deadly fire in Bangladesh that killed some 100+ factory workers, who sewed clothes for name brand stores, has created a big reaction here in Norway.  A survey shows that people are willing to pay more for clothes if the value chain is free of injustice.  If each of us became more aware of where our goods come from, stop buying lots of cheap goods and instead fewer more expensive ones, lobby for injustice where we can, we will each contribute to the cultural change that will help the inhabitants and the planet to thrive.

Spiritual fulfillment, means finding meaning in life other than owning and acquiring things.  Helping others, sharing and contributing in new ways, brings a sense satisfaction and rightness.  When we hear “Shop ’til you drop” and start dancing to the tune of the mad Christmas marketing, we are unconsciously participating in the destruction of the earth’s resources.  We need to find new ways to make ourselves feel good that contribute to the good of the whole rather than competing for who has the best whatever. Not to stop buying things but to be more conscious in our choices and motivations.

Awareness of these three aspects is expanding in the world today.  We are starting to become conscious of the importance of these areas for ourselves and the planet. And each of us can help it grow.

Every big shift in history has been accompanied by a movement that raised the consciousness of the people first which led to governments following with legislation.  The end of slavery, women’s right to vote, the end of smoking in public places and other big changes happened because of a expanded public awareness and lobbying on the part of many people. It is easy to think that we can just wait for action from large organizations and confine our own actions to small changes.  For real change , we need grass-root movements to push the big guys into making new legislation and taking big steps. Let’s dare to write letters and talk to friends.

This video tells the story of how a teacher/ administrator managed to raise awareness in the South Bronx, NY. With the help of his extended student and community family, Stephen Ritz and his group have grown over 25,000 pounds of vegetables while generating extraordinary academic performance and even changing the economy for this generally low income community.

The energy level of this guy might get you dizzy – but when you see what he and his community have accomplished,  you will be breathless as well.  I love how each of the three major areas for change are touched on in this amazing project.







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