Ending Unsustainable Lifestyles

I led a table at the World Conference for “people living an environmentally unsustainable lifestyle.” Ten people showed up.* We went around with three questions:

1. Have you determined your degree of consumption and if it is sustainable? Three people had used some method to decide if their lifestyles were sustainable and had determined they were not. One person had calculated that if all the people of the world lived at that person’s level of consumption, it would take four planets the size of earth to sustain our population. The others assumed or suspected that they were not living at a sustainable level of consumption but had not used any particular formula to determine that.

2. What step have you taken to reduce your consumption of the earth’s resources? Everyone had done something. People’s actions were quite varied. Most had required a significant change from a former lifestyle, and all were successful in reaching a short-term goal.

3. What addiction or circumstance leads you to the overconsumption that you fight to overcome? What distress do you need to work on to move against this addiction or circumstance and toward a sustainable lifestyle? All but one person easily identified some piece of irrationality that they could attack systematically in Co-Counseling sessions.

I shared my thought (based on my experience) that this is probably similar to our struggle to achieve a healthy diet and enough exercise—that is, it is hard to do alone. I suggested we might make sustainability partnerships with Co-Counselors. We could help each other set goals, make plans, and discharge. Perhaps ten minutes of a weekly session could be used for this.

For some of us this is not just about our own patterns of consumption but also about those of the people in our household. We could move on this, too, with the help of these partnerships.

I can think of some exciting implications. How much has our wide-world-change work been contaminated by our lack of personal integrity in this area? Might our movement against our own overconsumption lead to a renewed integrity that would be sensed by the people around us? Might it inspire other people to actions—personal, political, and economic—that would be significant in preventing and reversing damages inflicted on the earth by human activity?

If this inspires you to experiment with these partnerships, please let me know of your results.

Dan Nickerson
Freeport, Maine, USA
Reprinted from the e-mail discussion
list for RC Community members

* “Showed up” means came.

Last modified: 2017-05-07 06:35:41+00