Solving the issues that fall within the framework of sustainability will depend on changing human behavior and inertia. There is no other way.
It is no longer enough just to be knowledgeable or ‘sensitive’ on these issues. We need to bridge the gap between theory and practice, that is, between knowledge and action. We need to act collectively now.
Difficulty; it seems no need to provide information and awareness anymore, but to start the sustainability action by overcoming the barriers of habits, traditions and behavioral norms.
An issue as dangerous as the climate issue: Inertia!
Global warming and the climate crisis it causes are real, right? So, what is the reactive or ‘inactive’ attitude taken in the face of this absolute truth? This social and behavioral response is just as important as the climate crisis itself. Unfortunately, we do not have a chance to solve the main issue without finding a solution to it.
It would be too easy to blame those who resist taking action for transformation. It is necessary to put forward the formulas to solve the resistance points. Communication is critical at this point. We need to move the subject from a dystopian disaster scenario that is constantly unfolding before us to the framework of opportunity and possibility.
In fact, many people are cognitively aware of the knowledge of resource conservation and pro-climate action. Here, it is useful to mention a concept that Aristotle associated with positive psychology, namely Phronesis (practical mind).
Aristotle defines virtue by dividing it into two: moral virtue and rational virtue. Moral virtue is knowing what is right for oneself and the society in which one lives. But this is not enough. What we know to be true also needs to be implemented correctly without harming anyone. And this requires practical mind (Phronesis).
Practical wisdom enables us to make the right decision about how to act in different situations. This is only the first step. Being able to take the right decisions into action is just as important.
Another fundamental philosophical theory is David Hume‘s theory of motivation. Hume argues that the motivation to perform an action depends both on an inner belief that the action is right and on the desire to perform it.
So, even if there is practical wisdom, a strong motivation is also needed to take action on the axis of sustainability.
The first motivation is the ‘intention’ in this matter. This is only possible when the subject clearly touches people’s lives and they can understand the impact of their daily practices on the climate and environment in general. And seeing good examples more and more often…
The right examples that can be observed more around will increase attention and awareness about the subject. The proliferation of good examples and their transformation into norms that everyone would like to follow will be essential for success in this regard.
The solution is in our forgotten cultural references!
It is not possible to solve this without including culture and demographics. If we talk about our own society; the most obvious solution will be to remember some concepts that are actually in our culture, such as avoiding waste, thrift, and a simple life, and to reclaim these values, which formed the backbone of a generation or two ago.
While culturally possessing this practical wisdom, it is also the duty of communications disipline to provide the motivation to put it into action.
Perhaps the shortest way to get out of today’s spiral, which indexes happiness and success to consumption, but in which the person himself gets exhausted as he consumes, passes through here.
Time is precious. Let’s move on from inertia to action, even with small steps…
Sources and more to read:
Book: ‘Managing Climate Change and Sustainability through Behavioural Transformation’ Parul Rishi