This blog was originally based on a course ran by Professor Nick Gray of the Trinity Centre for the Environment at Trinity College Dublin who also wrote a textbook for the module Facing up to global warming: What is going on and what you can do about it. Now working as an independent consultant, Nick continues to work in the area of environmental sustainability and looking at ways of making a difference without recriminations or guilt. Saving the planet is all about living sustainably.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why is the concept of sustainable living such a taboo

Sustainable living seems to be a phrase that when mentioned causes some people to become really defensive and start defending their lifestyle. Or it gets dismissed as something that is for other people, namely ‘Eco-freaks’, but not for them. Why is the concept of sustainable living such a taboo to some people? I have a friend who is genuinely of the opinion that we should not bother to care for our environment to pass it on to future generations in a viable condition because she won’t be around then. When I try to reason with her she just shuts down and won’t listen to any other argument on the topic. The way of life that she has is not in the minority; in fact these opinions are still very much in the majority especially among my generation. How can we explain to people of such a mind-set when they won’t even bother to listen to anything contrary to what they already believe? We’re not asking them to become vegetarian, never fly again or walk everywhere. They could just make small changes to their lifestyle that would make a big change to our planet. Changes that would in fact benefit them as well. Some of these could be using public transport instead of driving everywhere and in doing this saving money on petrol, or using energy efficient light bulbs again saving money. Even using a metal reusable water bottle instead of a plastic bottle helps save not only the environment but also the time and money of buying a new plastic bottle when the old one is worn out and minimises potential risk of contamination. In my opinion it is not asking too much to alter our lifestyles so that others, including future generations, are able to simply live.
Clare Singleton

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