Bumper Sticker Values and Sustainability

June 4, 2008 at 5:53 am

Honor thy parents, our children are our future and one of my personal favorites think globally, act locally may be values that we preach, but is it what we practice? While these bumper sticker gems of philosophy sound great, their disconnect with how we lead our daily lives creates the schism between us achieving our most cherished hopes and the realities we forge through our daily behaviors.

However, such a disconnect is not without reason – there are obstacles that we have created unintentionally that prevent us from living these ideals. Long distance relationships may be commonplace, but are they sustainable? Do they challenge us personally in the same way that the “pinpricks of daily life” do when we have to live in close proximity to these people? Modern realities, however, require two incomes to pay the bills. Modern realities make children leave their families for work opportunities. And, the time demands of these realities bring us to subcontract many of our responsibilities including our children’s education and the care of our aging parents. And, the fast pace of our world contributes to the growing dysfunction among these key relationships.

In order to refocus our attention to what is important its useful to take a philosophical perspective and ponder on that long asked question: what is life about? Ultimately it is about our relationships with friends and family. They say happiness can’t be bought – well, they’re right! This stuff, career prestige, status symbols of house, car and cell phones are for many our society’s means of luring others into our lives when the only real way is to be actively involved in the lives of those we love. And, we do that by sharing our thoughts and feelings and by demonstrating them through our actions. That means giving those we love our most precious resource – our time.

There is often a disconnect between our ideals and the realities of those ideals, so what are the implications of living our values? Well to put it simply, not only would our lives be reorganized, but our world would be transformed. Families would stick together geographically. Extended household would become commonplace as aging parents live with their children. Parents would educate themselves in order to aid in their children’s education. And, basically, we would spend less time working and invest more of it in our homes and communities.

Sustainability is not just an objective process that we will achieve in the environment we inhabit because to truly achieve it “out there” we also have to achieve it in ourselves. By living the values we profess, sustainability will happen without debate of costs and without fear of change. But this is the tallest order of the challenge because few people I know (if any) actually live the values they profess. So I offer you my own best advice to achieve both sustainability and happiness in bumper sticker format! Make your life your testament.

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Entry filed under: Consumerism, Environment, Leadership, People, Philosophy, Sustainability. Tags: , , , , .

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