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Individual Paper: Mindfulness

A prerequisite for sustainability

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Human beings have changed ecosystems and altered the climate extensively, mainly to meet rapidly growing demands. We do not just consume to provide our basic needs, but also to fulfill additional desires and wants. These wants vary, as they are shaped by the perception of what is considered normal or valuable in a culture and what is embedded in our broader social practices. Consumption underlies all drivers, and is expected to become more intense putting more pressure on our exhausted ecosystems and changing climate. Within the systematic world we live in, we are constantly separated from the systems we rely on, such that many of us do not even know we are in the middle of an environmental crises. With the failure of current mechanisms in place to solve global problems, one antidote could be expanding our consciousness embodied in the notions of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a word that has different definitions based on its origin; religious, quasi-religious or scientific. The simplest definition is the state of being aware. It is the process of bringing one’s attention to the present moment and can be developed through meditation and other contemplative practices. Mindfulness’s contribution to sustainability could be in; making it easier for us to distinguish between needs and wants, relating to our environment with compassion, disrupting our routines, and helping deliberately choose our lifestyle. Mindfulness can not only change how we think about the social and environmental crises that affect our world, but can also help us to take the actions needed to reverse anthropogenic negative impacts on our planet.
The importance of mindfulness lies within the fact that sustainability is ultimately a conscious social choice. Mindfulness can help nurture non-materialistic values and develop our ethical moral. It can also contribute to increasing personal well-being that exist beyond the acquisition of material goods and leading to more ecologically sustainable lifestyles. Mindfulness has the potential to support our shift towards societal change and influence alternative futures as a shift for sustainability cannot be forced upon people, it has to be an endogenous process.

Keywords: Climate change · Consumption · Sustainability · Mindfulness

Amel, E. L., Manning, C. M., & Scott, B. A. (2009). Mindfulness and Sustainable Behavior: Pondering Attention and Awareness as Means for Increasing Green Behavior. Ecopsychology, 1(1), 14–25.
Ericson, T., Kjønstad, B. G., & Barstad, A. (2014). Mindfulness and sustainability. Ecological Economics, 104, 73–79.
Wamsler, C., Brossmann, J., Hendersson, H., Kristjansdottir, R., McDonald, C., & Scarampi, P. (2018). Mindfulness in sustainability science, practice, and teaching. Sustainability Science, 13(1), 143–162.


Day: 2018-08-23
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (209)
Track: Spirituality and Religion



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