With the coming generation, education will become more closely aligned with cultivating intuitive decision- making. By incorporating a wide range of sources of knowledge and perspectives, a more holistic approach to education will synthesize old traditions with new capabilities to instill a greater sense of integrity and possibility into public and private institutions.
Over the past thirty years, consumer lifestyle has gradually become oversized and unsustainable. In the next thirty years, popular lifestyle will be less about ego and more aligned with nature’s cycles to establish balanced ecosystems.
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” — Arundhati Roy
Common everyday items, that quickly come in and out of our lives, can be realigned with more lasting principles. In many ways, some of the simplest changes are also the most widely effective. The question of “paper” or “plastic” for grocery bags is better replaced by the question of do you need to bring another bag into circulation at all, or can you simply reuse one? Same goes for straws. Paper has replaced plastic, but that still accounts for a lot of straws going to waste. Why are straws so important anyway? Many of the novelties of modern life have become unnecessary conveniences. In order to create more integrative systems of engagement, we can begin to make more conscious efforts to better use the abundance of resources we already have at hand.
The idea of a closed loop of goods has been around for some time. One example of mainstream sustainability that doesn’t require a huge shift in perspective is Patagonia’s Worn Wear. With this program for keeping perfectly-wearable used clothing in rotation, the clothing manufacturer is helping out the environment by stretching out the lifecycle of products that would normally be turned to trash sooner. As the company reasons on their website, “the best thing we can do for the planet is get more use out of stuff we already own, cutting down on consumption.”
“The more you know, the less you need.” — Yvon Chouinard
The world doesn’t really need any more sneakers. There’s actually enough of everything, if only the balance of distribution can reach greater alignment between supply and demand. As public discussion focuses more and more around the topic of sustainability, humans will increasingly find ways to redistribute and conserve resources to better integrate themselves within the natural world.
In another effort to diminish our collective trash, a recent joint venture between Italian healthcare group Angelini, and Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest diaper supplier, set out to investigate what to do with the end product of a $4 billion-a-year diaper market. These conglomerates have begun a potentially pivotal, new program that looks to recycle absorbent hygiene products like diapers, incontinence pads, and feminine hygiene products, with a plan to roll out in ten cities by 2030. For 2035–2050+, the company’s vision of products and packaging consists of 100% renewable or recycled materials. The products being developed from these recycled materials range from school desks to playgrounds to bottle tops. In addition, recycled cellulose can be turned into fabric or paper, while super-absorbent polymer has potential applications in gardening, or creating flood barriers.20
The more that companies and individuals prioritize reusing, recycling, and repurposing objects, the more that potential applications will evolve. The most significant change we have in mind is recycling and reinventing materials that are already in existence and transforming them into imaginative new forms. We believe that pursuing this approach will lead to a larger, sustainable tradition of more conscious, connected, and integrative systems.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead