How to Talk about Sustainability?

Despite the urgent need for sustainable thinking, some people roll their eyes when you start talking about sustainability. Motivating people and citizens towards a sustainable journey can be challenging when the talk doesn’t seem to appeal to them. Unfortunately, this is a common phenomenon noticed among individuals, communities, businesses, public administration, and governments around the world. The question then arises: How to talk about sustainability?

The goal of the talk is to have an impact on people’s behavior. It’s the latter that fuels both the solutions and the global issues that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strive to address. Instead of convincing people and communities to share the same concerns about ocean pollution, gender equality, water rights, proper infrastructure, you can focus on their concerns. Almost every person faces problems daily. When people are provided with sustainable solutions that address their concerns, there’s the chance they’re going to change their behavior. People know some issues need to be solved. They also need an enabling environment that inspires them to take action on things that they care about. This would be an approach that builds a sense of participation as well as an emotional resonance between enablers and the enabled, change-makers, and beneficiaries. Hence, it would be possible to continue a cycle of continuous citizen-driven innovation.

Another problem with the ‘sustainability talk’ is that it happens in the future. Current actions and plans are at the root of future visions and possible scenarios. However, not everyone is able or bothers to see the future in front or to grasp large-scale events.

Thus, depending on the person or audience in front of you can divert attention from a global concern such as climate change to a personal issue such as money-saving. When you tell people to make greener choices because it would help them save more money they will be more interested to listen to you.

Telling people to choose another because is healthier can be more convincing than telling them about the environmental impact of imported food.

Don’t forget to use data for each argument you bring on, but keep it simple. Keep the focus on the individual or community level, and avoid smart long technical terms for the sake of sounding convincing. Speak your audience’s language.
Only facts and data aren’t enough. You should mention several examples of innovators, companies, organizations that are doing something new and beneficial, for example, social business and sustainable enterprises.

Focus on children. “Education for Sustainable Development empowers learners of all ages with the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to address the interconnected global challenges we are facing, including climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, poverty, and inequality.”

Children are not only the most affected by the way how sustainable development issues are addressed now, but they are also part of the change. Introducing children to the principles of the SDGs can provide them the skills, knowledge, and attitude towards sustainable values.

The talk about sustainability is important. It’s not only educators, organizations, innovating brands that need to raise awareness on the need for behavior change towards environmental, societal, and economic challenges.

Entrepreneurship is a key player in this task because it addresses the above-mentioned issues conforming to local contexts and needs. Currently, there’s a huge need for innovators and motivated change makers, not only to modernize solutions but also to inspire more people in doing so.

If you want to learn how to get started with entrepreneurship, get the necessary skills and mindset, or just explore how sustainable entrepreneurs from all over the world are innovating for a better future, join the Entrepreneurship Campus, take the free online training, or submit your business idea or project.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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2 Comments

  1. Precise clear article

  2. Sustainability is not just about having a mindset and awareness. It is learning by doing. We must start from our very own small steps just like what we teach to our children until sustainability became our norm and became part of our culture.

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