Pursuit of sustainability – The Hindu

Pursuit of sustainability – The Hindu

Sustainability needs to be a habit rather than a project.

Sustainability needs to be a habit rather than a project. When I returned to Delhi from my hometown after three months, I was looking forward to having my favourite cold coffee from a particular joint. I went to the cafeteria in Connaught Place but ended up not having it because they refused to serve me the coffee in a glass cup but only in a plastic takeaway cup. At that moment, it was a spontaneous choice, but it was rooted in my larger passion, which was rather an accidental discovery of the pleasure and joy in sustainable living. I wasn’t willing to forgo that deeper joy in favour of the momentary sensual pleasure of having my favourite beverage.

Often, as most people, I would reason that one cup won’t make a difference to the environment, and I have been craving this coffee for so long and therefore I deserve to have it. After all, it’s just one cup and just one time.

However, in that moment, it was a very effortless decision. Introspection helped me realise that I could do it because I was not giving up on something without any returns. If you see, the pursuit of sustainability is selfish both emotionally and materially. Resources are limited; therefore, consuming higher than our quota of today is eating away from our own quota of tomorrow. But getting what we want today is always more effective than the promise of a better future.

My joy and satisfaction served as my instant gratification rather than the taste of the coffee I missed. Appreciation from whomever I have mentioned this story continues to drive me towards similar pursuits.

The difference between those who haven’t given up on the plastic cup and myself, is that they haven’t felt the instant self-gratification or the appreciation that follows sustainable practices. Once they discover the joy in sustainable consumption, they will not need environmental activists to constantly police them about carrying water bottles and shopping bags, about waste segregation and local consumption.

Collective sustainability is going on at institutional and policy levels, both globally and nationally. But sustainability needs to be a habit rather than a project.

It should be promoted and talked of as one of the virtues of human society at par with love, kindness and honesty. It should be placed on the moral high ground.

Once recognised thus, it will automatically become commonplace and is sure to bring instant gratification in lives of people who practice it. That’s how people will discover the joy in sustainable living and consumption and practise it without coercion, not for others but themselves.

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Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/pursuit-of-sustainability/article37984460.ece

Sustainable living