Fear, facts, and the seemingly uncontrollable big picture will not motivate individuals to make a change for sustainability. Climate change has positioned the global community at a turning point and there are only two ways to go: continue business as usual to crash and burn or make the challenging changes and sacrifices for a prosperous future of the generations to follow. Both options do not sound ideal. Business as usual may lead to wars, economic uncertainty or prosperity, but at what cost? Lifestyle sacrifices for the potential future of generations to follow also does not sound appealing. It is important for optimist activists to sell change with positive and beneficial lens.
The average middle class North American family may not be the first to jump on board with the idea of replacing their home heating with solar power or redesigning suburbia to introduce more public transportation, in order to reduce environmental impact. The average middle-class family may be more attracted to the idea of lowering their heating bills and shorting their commute to work. Understanding the market you are trying to convince is key in selling sustainability. Climate change facts no longer change the actions of individuals. In North America’s consumer culture, it is important to adjust the consumer world so that it benefits climate change action. Marketing the benefits of sustainable home design, public transportation, community design, trading currency and community collaboration will be key in moving towards a more sustainable future.
Imagine a community where neighbours come together for meals regularly. Imagine a community where people from all walks of life don’t feel isolated because it a social norm to check-in and ask people how others are doing. Imagine a community where kids run from house to house playing with kids of all ages and there is trust that, as a community, all members will keep an key on the children. Imagine a community where food is grown locally and equally dispersed, where children don’t go to school hungry. Imagine a community where mothers don’t have to work three jobs to support their kids because their neighbours are willing to help provide for each other, as the community supports strength is in numbers. The foundation value of community is support. Working together allows communities to reach further than working apart.
A sustainable future is attractive and aligns with core human values, such as connection, success, and stability. A community that has created meaning and appreciation of what they have, will natural also protect the environment that surrounds it. Sell the sustainable future individuals can imagine accomplishing, make it possible. Living sustainably together is the future each citizen can create, climate change action activist must sell it, promote it and live it, then others will follow. Show the generations to follow what sustainable communities can be, then watch as the value of sustainability transitions from an unrealistic ideal of “delusional activists” to a valued and supported mindset.