Updated: Dec 7, 2022
The best friend of man is the Earth. When we respectfully treat it, we have one of the greatest supporter in this universe.
“We can sit back, do nothing and watch our planet be destroyed. Or we can take action, become advocates and start making lifestyle choices which are kinder to people and the planet.” – Kira Simpson
“Sustainable living means understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us and finding ways for everyone to live better and lighter.”
People do not change behavior based on what they should do. They do not respond to data and statistics, nor to negative future scenarios.
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Applying a ‘people lens’ to sustainability is new, timely and opportunities are great. Sustainable living and lifestyles for the first time appear in the Sustainable Development Goals (4 Education and 12.8 Responsible Consumption). UN Environment Programme is at the forefront of looking into what sustainable lifestyles are and how decision-making can be better harnessed for sustainability. How can governments and business better support and measure change?
Most people do not wake up with the intention to harm the environment - nor to help it. People get up and live their lives and strive for aspirations. The amount of stuff people have in many parts of the world has shot up, while in other areas, many struggle to meet basic needs. Our future now depends on our behavior and how we choose to live, work and play as global consumers – how we run our homes, what food we eat, how we get around, how we relax, what we buy and how we care for our planet.
People act to fulfill their needs and aspirations. They make decisions based on price, accessibility, effectiveness and additional criteria like well-being or trends. Sustainability is not the defining criteria. Even the people who want to live more sustainably often lack information and access to affordable and desirable products and services. This underscores that beyond people, it is up to governments and business (who are also consumers!) to provide more information and support positive behavior change, and to support and develop new business models to make sustainable living a default option. UNEP, a long-time proponent of sustainable living and lifestyles, now contributes to the One Planet Network Programme of Sustainable Lifestyles and Education co-led by Sweden and Japan.
Our Vision: To harness individual decision-making for sustainability and integrate sustainable lifestyle principles across society, so that sustainable living, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, becomes the norm (the New Normal) for people everywhere.
Who do we work with?
Lifestyles cut cross many sectors such as mobility, food, buildings and construction, consumer information, textiles, tourism; they link to efforts such as the One Planet Network and take into account regional and urban differences.
Individuals – to enable and motivate them and the organizations that work with people, to make more sustainable lifestyle choices. It’s also about governments and the private sector providing (default) options and systems to meet needs more sustainability.
Research institutions and non-governmental organizations – to develop sustainable lifestyle frameworks and future forecasting. By bringing experts together to gather and synthesize data, we support an evidence-base that feeds into education, policy and practice.
Educational institutions – to raise awareness and critical thinking to connect how daily living decisions affect the world and people around us. This includes formal and informal education as well as developing evidence-based, climate impactful messages and nature-based solutions and rolling them out through urban initiatives, campaigns and pilot curricula.
Governments – to provide guidelines, frameworks and future forecasts, to support the adoption of sustainable policies and improve infrastructure. This advances incentives and options for people to make sustainable lifestyle choices.
Cultural influencers, communication and media organizations – to frame messaging in a creative and inspiring way, through new platforms. Media organizations, for instance, can design messaging and advertise them through influencers or documentaries to increase public awareness. Climate activists and cultural influencers are the new ‘policy wild cards’ to embrace.
- SOURCE: https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/resource-efficiency/what-we-do/sustainable-lifestyles