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Has Sustainability Become The New Daily Guilt Trap?

Has sustainability become the new daily guilt trap?

Has sustainability become the new daily guilt trap?

Sustainability is a journey that begins with awareness.

A recognition that each of us creates both negative and positive impact through our day-to-day actions, and that these impacts vary for everyone. Each of our paths to a more sustainable lifestyle is varied and much like a lot of aspects in life, there is no one size fits all. Even the definition of sustainability is evolving, and changes depending on the context and person it’s relating to. To us, it’s about a fine balance between the planet and people.

The most recognised definition of sustainable development originates from “Our Common Future”, written in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment & Development, also known as the Brundtland Report. This report defines sustainable development as:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Brundtland 1987)

To further this, the three pillars of sustainability are the most fundamental aspects of sustainability, these are: environment, economy and society. All of them, directly and indirectly, impact each other – none of these pillars stand alone. Therefore, it’s important to consider everything when talking about sustainability, and look at it from a broad open-minded perspective.

The fact is, if you type ‘what is sustainability’ into a search engine, you will find over 250k results; we’re not here to add to those definitions, but instead talk about why the definition takes so many different meanings and why this is important when applying sustainability to our own lives.

Why are there so many definitions of sustainability?

The answer is this; opinions and preferences vary so much regarding what constitutes an eco-friendly lifestyle. A recent study showed that 72% of people are driven to leave a better planet for their children, but as mentioned above, there is not a one-size-fits-all method to go about it. From what we eat, to how many children we decide to have, there’s a lot we can do to reduce our environmental footprint, in a way that suits our own lifestyles.

To exemplify, an argument that’s often talked about in sustainability is the cost of sustainable choices. You may have noticed in waste free / environmental shops that the greener options are often the more expensive ones, which for someone of affluence, buying these products is still attainable and is one way of reducing their carbon footprint. However, it’s a quick way to make people who don’t have as much disposable income, feel like sustainability is a ‘cost’ that they can’t afford. However, a lot of sustainable practises originate from a desire not to consume very much at all.

Using less energy, buying less unnecessary products etc. Indigenous people are some of the most sustainable of all, despite having very little material possessions. Sustainable living will look different for everyone. For some people, it might look like being completely self-sufficient – growing your own food, creating your own energy and building your own structures. However, for others, sustainable living is just a way of being more aware of your choices, including how much you consume and how you treat the Earth and it’s living creatures. The point is that both sides of the pendulum have a positive impact to carbon footprints despite being completely different.

Much like life in general, human beings are all completely different, but when we come together in our own ways, we can achieve great things.

At eco-shaper, we drive action on climate change and streamline carbon footprinting. For example, we can help calculate emissions across the entire ecosystem that companies work across and produce automated reporting based on outcomes. It’s like Xero, for sustainability. Contact us to be part of our research group on



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