oikos MMC Blog Competition: More than Money

A year before my graduation I realized that I like sustainability. In fact I liked it so much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with it. In order to find out how we could live happily ever after, I did internships at Fairtrade, the Municipal Department for Environment Protection in Vienna and the Federal Environment Agency. Also, I worked for the Institute for Environment and Regional Development at my University, wrote my thesis about urban farming and founded oikos Vienna. I tried to go to as many events as possible, read books and articles. During this time I found out that I am mostly interested in sustainable consumption. We all buy foods and clothes. We live in houses or apartments where we use energy and water. We have smartphones, go to restaurant and like to travel. Some of those things we cannot stop doing and some of those things most people do not want to stop doing. But why not change the way we do those things? Why not chose the organic cheese over regular cheese, it is right next to the regular one. We can buy organic clothes, live in energy friendly houses, take showers instead of baths, use public transportation, go to vegan restaurants, not change our phone every six months etc.

Some people are simply not aware of sustainable alternatives while others do not trust it: “Organic food is fraud. Fairtrade is not helping the farmers. Why should I buy one organic shirt if I could buy 6 from xx for the same price?” In order to change people’s behavior they need to be informed and they need to belief in the cause. Sustainability does not have to be about sacrifices and bad conscious. Sustainability is about alternatives, awareness and active decisions. I want to show people those alternatives, raise their awareness and encourage active decisions. If every household decides to live at least a partly sustainable lifestyle, a lot can be changed. As nobody can stop consuming altogether, I think the field of sustainable consumption has high potential to make a huge ongoing impact on the environment and society.

In order to be part of this process I am trying to educate myself in sustainable consumption. In the future I will attend more events addressing sustainable consumption and I will introduce myself to key note speakers and other participants. In fall, I will start a master’s program for environmental and bio-resources. I am still working for the Federal Environment Agency, however, I will either try to transfer to the sustainable development department or look for another job e.g. at the Austrian Institute for Sustainable Development.

oikos and More Than Money Careers can show me what kinds of jobs exist in this field. Maybe there are job positions I have not heard of before. Also, a platform listing current job offers could help me and other students. Moreover, oikos and More Than Money Careers have a wide range of contacts in different areas I can benefit from. oikos could furthermore help me with professional expertise e.g. there might be papers about sustainable consumption oikos students or fellows have written, or conferences and other activities focusing on sustainable consumption where I can meet like-minded people. More Than Money Careers could help me to answer questions such as: Do I have to apply differently for a sustainable job position than for regular jobs? What kind of strategies, tricks and tactics are there? Which positions are truly sustainable and which positions only pretend to be?

This post is by Manuela Bigler. Manuela is a student at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien in Austria and is a member of the Board of oikos Vienna.

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