While working in conventional and organic farming and for a company during the ITS (Intelligent Traffic Systems) World Congress in Vienna, volunteering for npo’s engaging for human rights or assisting a handicapped young man, I discovered that you can either have or have not a strong believe in what you’re doing. I was disappointed when I couldn’t find any recycling bins at the congress, not even for paper, not even in the press office, although the whole event put emphasis on environmental-friendly solutions. I have recently been told that the carbon footprint of seasonally imported South-African apples is lower than the one of our European organic apples after storage. The first npo I was a member of was making it hard for me to participate and I had to get out of the second one because I just didn’t feel accepted. Isn’t that ironic? Being a personal assistant was a great experience. But I also had to learn that different people approach things in really different ways while they all think their way is the only one that will not lead into disaster.
Some disasters are inevitable. Some make us understand that something even worse might happen. Catastrophes are nothing good but it is in their nature to come without clear warnings, to just be there to deal with. They usually lead to panic and everybody’s paralysation. Experience tells us that people tend to ignore what they don’t know how to deal with. But if we’re prepared to face the coming crises now, we won’t be necessarily paralysed in the future. So where do I want to get with all this: I don’t have the only right solutions, nobody does. But we can get started by raising awareness and in order to do so we need to generate information. I want to know what to reply when people say that organic food is neither healthy nor environmental friendly. I want to understand why biofuel is still produced and what lies behind the superficial observations of certain business practices. For my part, I’m getting started by working on my bachelor thesis on sustainability reports. I hope to get an insight into the habits of companies regarding their sustainability policies.
I think making people aware is most important now. Mindsets have to change. I want to stop people from making fun of it or even get angry when I ask them not to produce too much waste, not to waste water, to go by public transport and not by car and when I explain why I am a vegetarian. I am convinced that every person acts reasonably in his/her own understanding. So I want to make valuable information available to broaden this understanding. What we need are sources of information that are easily accessible, trustworthy and open for discussion.
That’s why I want to be a journalist. I’ve just applied with different newspapers for an internship. While I’m waiting for their replies I will write blogs for oikos Vienna and educate myself on sustainability issues. The meetings and chats with my oikees give me new ideas, new insights and help me stick to my principles. There is nothing more inspiring than joint enthusiasm. I hope MMC can help me gaining the necessary experience in the field before I will be able to write about it. First I need to do research and develop solutions in teams, maybe at a business consultancy or at a university. Because sustainability is not a buzzword but the only way of doing business that has a future, per definition.
This post is by Greta Sparer from oikos Vienna. Greta is a student at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien in Austria.