Spirituality = Sustainability (and vice versa)
As I begin to plant seeds for these new ideas, and scatter them into the world (the digital world at least for now), I feel it’s important for me to go into more detail around the core belief, that Spirituality = Sustainability, and vice versa.
Undertaking a master’s study in fashion + sustainability the past few years, I had the opportunity (so grateful for this) to spend my entire days immersed in texts and research surrounding ecology, physics, economics, psychology and design. During this time, I attempted to understand at some small capacity, the causes behind the way things are at the moment (environmentally, socially, culturally, economically), and what new or reworked concepts could potentially aid in the untangling of these issues. (I’m not going to go into detail about these issues here. I’m sure you are all way too aware about these).
This 1.5yr length study, alongside a lengthy thesis paper, essentially foregrounded for me that sustainability means* living, creating, producing, consuming and just ‘being’, in harmony with the natural world and all of it’s inhabitants - humans, animals, plants.
If this is what sustainability means (at least to me), then I don’t see the disparity between it and spirituality.
Spirituality allows us to connect to our inner selves, to one another and to the world around us It helps us to recognise the significance of what makes us so intrinsically human - our intuition, deeper values, our emotions, our vitality, presence, empathy, authenticity, collaboration, community, and our deep connection to the Land.
It’s not this ‘woo woo’ unattainable thing, that can only be reached through continual meditation, incense burning and chanting (but that can be part of it - if that’s what you choose!). It’s about being authentically human, and nurturing these raw properties that we all already have within us. This is what we are all coded with.
And then, it’s about allowing these fundamental elements to flow freely into all aspects of our lives; into our relationships, our work, our homes, and absolutely into how we imagine, create, produce and consume, material and immaterial things.
In order to have a culture of true sustainability, it isn’t just about outer actions, CSR initiatives or policy changes. Don’t get me wrong, these are all valuable parts of the puzzle, however, it is first and foremost our responsibility to change our inner outlook and priorities.
Spirituality - the inner path, the examined life, consciousness, intuition…whatever you fancy to call it, could allow us to develop a different outlook, connect to our deepest values, and make more responsible choices that impact not only ourselves and our communities, but also the Environment.
What do you think about the fusing of these two concepts? I would love to hear your thoughts below.
*I understand this word also brings with it diverse connotations due to its misuse and the prevalent corporate ‘greenwashing’, however, I still choose to use it, until a better word comes along - perhaps 'flourishing' could be used here?
**I’d also love to see a world where we don’t even have to use this S word. A world where everything is already sustainable, and no one even think’s twice about it been otherwise.