Sustainable Lifestyles Workshop

Visioning a Sustainable Lifestyle Workshop

Last Friday the 8th of July, I had the opportunity to join the “Visioning a Sustainable Lifestyle” workshop organized by Waste Watch’s Sustainable Lifestyles programme1.

The workshop started with an introduction to the concepts and theories behind this programme and later we were invited to have a brainstorming session over the challenges, implications and opportunities of envisioning and materializing sustainable lifestyles. After a break, we started exploring in more detail three questions that emerged from participants’ initial inputs, which allowed for a variety of thoughts, perspectives and reflections to emerge. It was interesting to see a group of people from different backgrounds and areas of practice joining together with a common concern and an initiative for change.

One of the questions that arose, links directly to the present research, the concern of how to advocate and deliver the message of sustainability to a wider audience. It was discussed whether there are lessons to be learnt from the success of the advertisement world2.

The notion that “the end justifies the means” seems to be on the other side of an ethical borderline hence the idea of persuasion was quickly excluded. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the degree and seriousness of current social and environmental issues requires creative and attractive communication methods. Even so, the importance of being aware of our own bias was highlighted, being careful not to get lost in fanaticism and judgements by believing one has the ultimate answers. Unlike advertisement, it was discussed that sustainability should be based on values such as fairness, humility, equality, respect and justice, therefore leaving no room for manipulation, the focus being on inspiring and jointly working on the creation of better lives.

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1. To find more information on the “Sustainable Lifestyles” programme visit http://wastewatch.ning.com/

2. Some of these thoughts are explored in Futerra’s publication “Sell the Sizzle” which emphasizes the need to “build a visual and compelling vision of low carbon heaven” arguing that “for years we’ve tried to ‘sell’ climate change, but a lot of people aren’t buying”. On the same frame of ideas, Berman argues “perhaps all activism is simply a form of advertising”, the author invites designers to consider their role within society urging them to take a step forward reframing their work to contribute to the improvement of the world.

WORKS CITED

Futerra Sustainable Communications. “Sell The Sizzle.” Futerra Sustainable Communications. Web. 22 Nov 2010.

Berman, David. Do good Design: How Designers can change the World . Berkeley, USA: AIGA Design Press, 2009. 83. Print.

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