We all tell lies. We tell them to others. Even more insidiously, we tell them to ourselves. Lying can become so much of a habit that sometimes we might not even recognise that we are doing it.
But telling the truth is crucial for sustainability. It is essential when it comes to forming a solid foundation for a more eco-friendly, ethical and just future for all. We all have to delve deep when trying to live in a more sustainable way. We need to be honest with ourselves about where we have gone and are going wrong.
We all like to feel that we are good people, and that we are doing the right thing. But in today’s complex and challenging world, we can often do a lot of harm through the most small and seemingly innocuous of actions. Eating a burger can directly contribute to the destruction of the Amazon. Using single use plastic items can kill wildlife and destroy ecosystems…
In such a complex world, in which we face existential threats at every turn, we need to accept and take responsibility for all our actions. And we need to acknowledge and be honest to ourselves about the toll we are taking on our planet and other people through the small choices we make as we go about our daily lives.
One common lie that people tell themselves (that I am very familiar with as a sustainability consultant) is that we don’t have the power as individuals to drive the change that is necessary. But we have more power than we think. As voters and as consumers, we each have a small but significant role in determining the general direction of travel.
Recently, I have also been asked about how to tell the truth to kids about the climate crisis and other emergencies. I always think it is important not to sugar coat things too much. Kids are more resilient and wise than they are often given credit for. And we should trust them to respond positively, rather than with excessive fear or anger, when provided with the facts in a sensitive way.
For adults and children alike, the truth can be scary. But, armed with the truth, we can use it to galvanise us and spur us on, as we continue to work towards a better future.