The Sustainability Rut

Often, when designing I fall into a rut where I seem to be paralyzed in decision making. I struggle at deciding what it is I want to create, how I want that creation to look, what color I want it to be, what kind of fabric I want to use, etc.—but rather than acting quickly and creatively with a broad range of ideas, I wait and follow through with one idea from the beginning to end. One of the articles we read this week inspired me to handle these roadblocks that seem to haunt decision making in a new way. Within the article “Looking at the Future Through a Cartoonist Eyes”, Steven M. Johnson speaks about his self training in “lateral [thinking]” where he considers as many options as possible no matter how bizarre they might be. This type of thinking develops a wide range of possibilities that can help create the best option.

As a society I believe we are also in a rut as it pertains to sustainability. Overall I believe that we want to take action but we are presented with questions such as ‘How do we become more sustainable?’, ‘Is it possible for us to really make that big of a difference?’, ‘ if we are more sustainable, does that mean I have to spend more money?’. These questions hold us hostage in relation to actually becoming a more sustainable country and culture. Instead of allowing ourselves to become overly concerned with the ‘how’s’,’why’s’, and ‘what-ifs’—we need to spring into action by thinking creatively and laterally.

Thinking in this way will give us a broad range of ideas as to how to keep our earth turning and providing abundantly for our ancestors that will come after us. Living for the moment is important for our abundance of life experiences—however, some aspects of the way we live need to be with the future in mind, and for those who come after us. I believe the answer to our sustainability rut is creative lateral thinkers that consider all possibilities and are eager to act. These types of thinkers are leaders, the rest of society will follow suit.

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