Some argue that environmental sustainability is merely idealistic and unattainable. As a result, they make no effort to promote long-term sustainability. In response to this misunderstanding, entrepreneur Paul Hawken stated, “The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer.” Hawken’s quote encourages people to never give up hope when it comes to achieving their goals. People should not be concerned about achieving environmental sustainability in this context.
Change, on the other hand, is a mental state. As a result, if a person believes he or she will be unable to make a change, then any efforts will likely be futile. Steve Jobs, one of Apple’s co-founders, shared this viewpoint. He said that “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do” (Miller and Scott 480). From Jobs and Hawken’s point of view, people pessimistic about bringing change are the most dangerous.
Being cynic about change implies that we live in the current state regardless of its suitability for our lives. Jobs and Hawken encourage people to not only have courage that they can bring change, but also move forward to make the needed change. Indeed, if people like Hawken and Jobs among others had no courage to go ahead and implement changes which other pessimistic people referred to as unrealistic and idealistic, then very few achievements which the society now commemorate will have come to pass.
Moreover, sustainability revolution depends on people’s understanding that individuals matter when it comes to fostering sustainability. From Miller and Scott’s perspective, each of people’s actions and choices makes a difference (480). As such, people should always seek ways of contributing to the environment in which they live. In fact, nearly all the progress related to the environment the society has made over the last decades took place because people not only believed that they could make change, but came together to make such changes. Needless to say, this is a thrilling moment to be alive as people learn ways through which they can live sustainably on the earth.
People should be hopeful about making remarkable change and also make other people believe that they can also make change. Unfortunately, some people seem pessimistic or hopeless that they can make change. Hawken also had this feeling in mind. As such, he pointed that, “Hope only makes sense when it does not make sense to be hopeful” (Bloom and Brian 67). Ideally, Hawken directed this quote to managers and organizational owners. Mainly, Hawken implied that leaders should be optimistic and forget the past. That is, they should be “hopekeepers” for their clients. However, this might not be possible especially if they do not model the possibility of change in themselves.
Despite the fact that it might not make sense to be hopeful, leaders should recommit themselves to the youthful idealism which states that they are responsible for helping other people and communities to change and grow. Nonetheless, what people should understand is that before they can help other people to change and grow, they should be willing and capable of changing and growing themselves. From Hawken’s understanding, if leaders are committed to their change and growth, they will inspire change and growth in their organizations, clients, and colleagues.
Cynic individuals also blame life for hostile environment in which they live. However, this problem results because such people do not want to respect boundaries and limits of the earth’s resources. The issue can also be linked to lack of will and commitment by people to embrace change and adapt to new conditions. In response to this behavior, Paul Hawken says that “life creates the conditions that are conducive to life” (McNall, James, and George 321). The writer’s quote reflects the idea that, people who want to survive on this planet should respect the boundaries and limits of the earth’s resources. Hawken idea can further be understood based on the following anecdote. Let us think of the earth as a dynamic or ever moving bowl. In this case, life should be perceived like a marble in the bowl which always has to move when the bowl moves to find a state of equilibrium. Life attains this state by evolving and adapting.
Unfortunately, those who blame life for unfavorable conditions tend to design less adaptable conditions and try holding the bowl still. For example, people destroy the environment and design air conditioning units which can hold temperature at constant levels. As such, no matter the level of temperature outside, people can have a steady temperature. People think that they can operate this way, but such assumption is void. Indeed, disruptions in the system such as destruction of forests can lead to unfavorable conditions such as extreme climate changes and hurricane which strike people’s designs and make them unable to move to new states of equilibrium. From Hawken’s understanding, without disruptions, life presents favorable conditions for life. However, people should obey nature to survive. Any interference with nature makes it hard for life to create conducive environment. People should recognize that there is a relationship between nature and life. Therefore, any disruption on the environment will interfere with life.
In conclusion, environmental sustainability is essential for people to live healthy lives. As such, people should not only hope, but also actively promote sustainability. Leaders should be in the front to motivate other people to embrace and support change.
Bloom, L. Sandra, and Brian J. Farragher. Restoring Sanctuary: A New Operating System for Trauma-Informed Systems of Care. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
McNall, G. Scott, James C. Hershauer, and George Basile. The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices, and Stories of Success. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2011. Print.
Miller, G. Tyler, and Scott Spoolman. Environmental Science. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print.