I went to Barcelona this weekend for the first time. I saw Gaudi and Picasso and was completely and utterly blown away. Brain fuzz.
Each artist’s strength lay in the radically new perspective they brought to their work. Although they saw the same things as everyone else, they explored their focus from previously untold angles. La Sagrada Familia embodies this radical approach – de-constructing and rebuilding the idea of a catholic cathedral so profoundly different to that found across the rest of Europe.
And so my thoughts (as always) returned to sustainability.
The story of kindness, of compassion, is one which – although I’m sure is familiar to many others – for me, has only recently connected to sustainability. I want to use this story to give a new perspective on working towards a greener, fairer world, and indeed, how we communicate about that ambition.
I think we care about creating a sustainable world because we care about one another.
Of course, “sustainability” embodies a whole host of concepts, from carbon permits to biodiversity offsetting to closed loop recycling. Money, reputation and politics make an inevitable appearance also.
But at the heart of the matter lies kindness; caring for one another – for our families, our children, our society. For our grandchildren and great-grandchildren as yet unborn, and for everyone who we share this moment of existence with.
So compassion can be seen as the driver.
Moreover, it’s also the facilitator. No one can create sustainable change alone – we need to collaborate. And this process requires us working to understand and be understanding with a whole host of people, many coming from perspectives and vested interests we may find challenging.
Only compassion can make this happen.
I don’t think these are just airy fairy words. Check out the great work from Common Cause on intrinsic values, the Dalai Lama’s words on environmentalism, Tom Shadyac’s documentary “I am”, or the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities.
Sustainability both demonstrates and requires compassion. What’s more, perhaps compassion provides a greater setting for the tale of environmentalism than offsets and permits?
Gaudi orchestrated such beauty through connecting the ideas of creativity, nature and morality. We need to explore every avenue we can in creating a world that works for us all. Why not start with kindness?