Sustainability can be such an exhausting term. Rather contradictory don’t you think? We hear the word pretty much every time we turn our heads. I get the feeling that our issue with sustainability is that we as a species are desensitized to the term. By simply defining the term and explaining its potential, it often inflicts boredom to many. Why is it considered boring though? Well it’s rather simple, at present there seems to be more believing than seeing. Need I remind you that seeing is believing?
Like many things, products especially, sustainable consumption needs a little bit of marketing. Sustainable Consumption: Defined as the process of allocating and consuming resources in a manner that satisfies the needs of the present populations whilst maintaining the availability of said resources for future generations.
Now the term itself has a rather broad definition but unlike many other products that are manufactured, sustainable consumption isn’t a physical product manufactured by a single company. Instead it is a social construct that we devised in order to make society aware of their damage to the environment. It is a concept that only comes to life if a collective mindset aims towards the same goal; which is ensuring the future of the children who will eventually inherit what we leave behind.
But back to my point, Sustainable Consumption needs its own marketing. How would we do that exactly? Policies via the millennium development goals have played huge roles in forcefully imparting responsibilities on economies. However, it’s the resident, the citizen, not the industry that needs to know more about how we can change the way we live, in order to set precedents for our future generations.
There are always the arts. Creative mediums are known to have to power to convey emotions and stories to millions. Dance, music, art, filmmaking, theater, photography are more than capable of spreading messages subliminally whilst capturing the interest of many.
Let us take for example art installations. These wonders often display the best use of minimal resources to make expansive installations. These installations allow for people to interact with them, have them move, make noises or perform elaborate functions all to convey a simple message.
The video shows an installation of raindrops plated in copper and attached to wires. The drops are programmed and choreographed and have seamless movements. An installation such as this has the power to invoke powerful memories. Simple messages such as trying to ensure the perennial beauty of nature may seem poetic, but can have a profound effect.
Here’s another link to examples of sustainable art. Pay attention to the garbage art pieces. The simplicity of piling the garbage in piles and having the resulting shadows cast in beautiful images of life. It seems rather fitting to display how human beings enjoy life and at the same time harm the environment. The images do provide food for thought. The blog quotes “Sustainability, as an art movement, is designed to acknowledge our global issue with waste. Or maybe you call it trash. Or rubbish, garbage, junk. No matter the terminology. We have built a culture where the majority is hidden from their output. What’s more, society’s input to my lives of the majority is nearly unlimited. There are no ramifications if I take more than I deserve; there are no ramifications if I waste more than I should.”
Other installations such as the Rain Room in the Barbican in London, allow a person to walk through a chamber filled with nozzles that sprout rain and exit completely dry. Beats an umbrella right?
In today’s world there are countless examples of how simple mechanisms can convey powerful messages. Let’s face it, people like to be entertained, so what’s better than seeing faces livened up by allowing them to experience something otherwise never ventured. Seeing finally met believing and had wonderful children. The tactile interaction between the audience and the art ignites emotions so far beyond the human imagination.
With the arts, one can visually or aurally present ideas, stories and concepts be it music, dance, theater or photography. What is certain is that expressing sustainability through creative means keeps the topic relevant, no longer confining it to forums and classrooms, instead moving to towards the dinner table, or over the phone. Move over Gossip Girl, there’s a new show in town.
There is a caveat however. The novelty of a piece of art wears off quickly, followed by the public’s enthusiasm for it. The focus now turns to maintaining their interest in social awareness projects. An installation, a song, a play, a choreographed dance routine are all beautiful to observe and enjoy, but it is important to ensure that that the experience and the knowledge imparted is worth far more than just witnessing the event.
What are needed are campaigns. Long, sustained efforts to keep people active, and participating and finally achieving a goal. Create to Inspire School Program is an initiative that aims to use the arts in promoting successful campaigns. Using creative mediums as the foundation of campaigns. With performances in various schools, art installations in a number of places and publicized events, all relating to the themes of the program. Using the arts to make campaigns can have a profound effect.
The unique element of creative expressions is that it can easily influence society, even if for a short period, so imagine what a sustained influence may have. Involving arts in campaigns has the potential of turning an audience, into participants.
This is an exciting time, I’m quite excited and you should be too. It’s not everyday that we get to witness change right before our eyes.