TED Conversations

Sarah Shewey

CEO/Founder, Happily


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How can we help the sustainability community maintain its growth? *A TEDActive Sustainability Project question*


The TEDActive Sustainability Project will look at best practices in community organizing, and explore radical solutions to push the sustainability movement forward.

At TEDActive2011 in Palm Springs, an amazing group of individuals came together as a group to come up with a simple micro-action solution for helping the sustainability community continue to grow. After a quick 36 hour period of time, they recommended that we move the sustainability TEDTalks into TEDWalks by starting TED Conversations that include an action item attached to a TEDTalk. If you'd like to join them in doing so, please add the tag TEDActiveSUS in the "topics" section of the conversation form.

What would be your micro-solution to growing the sustainability community?


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    Apr 19 2011: I believe the key to that is to make sure people understand what "sustainability" really is and to show them it will not be burden as long as we can adapt the systems and the procedures accordingly. So, first step to gather more people is to clarify the definition. Then we need to adress local issues and demonstrate locak solutions to prove that it's possible to be sustainable. So from local communities to the global community the sustainability flow can flourish and become a flood.

    The second challenge to face, that I find really disturbing, is that many companies, entrepreneurs and corporations are using "green" and "sustainable" as a brand selling point (or im short they are greenwashing). This is tainting the philosophy of the sustainable movement. Thus, many -including environmentalists- approach it skeptically and they they to give up reaching to these profit-wishers to understand the true value of sustainability. Unless the lobies of business sectors actually start to move and raise their voices, there will be no way to put pressure on the governments, thus legislation and law.
    (And one more thing, the developed countries must stop selling old-fossil-fuel technologies to developing and third world countries. They must make renewables available and affordable for them.)

    To grow the community lies on the shoulders good leaders -as it generally does- but in this case, we need dedicated and headstrong mentors to guide the youth to be involved in this cause and we have to make sure that they are leading their careers in a sustainable path and actually creating change in every community they step in. And we require a global and free information web and of course and effective use of the social media will be vital. With these tools, all these enthusiactic and dedicated people from different professions from all around the world can reach out to eachother to form groups that can create projects for a sustainable future, and they can actually make a difference.

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