Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Falling off the Sustainability Tightrope

So, it turns out, there's a problem with Fair Trade.

Not only that, but you know that "Don't print this email" tag? The one you put in your footer because you want to educate people about not printing? Well, that causes over 2000 MT of CO2 emissions.

Oh and that biodiesel bus you were booking for your event? Well think again. It might be biting the hand that feeds, contributing to rising food prices around the globe.

Seriously, keeping up with the ongoing debate about what is good, better and best in the field of event sustainability is enough to send you around the bend, or at least into a state of paralysis. Reaching for most up-to-date information, stretching to anticipate outcomes, balancing conflicting issues....event sustainability sometimes feels like walking a tightrope, where falling off means judgement and shame about being wrong or doing harm.

Faced with that kind of risk you might ask: why bother with event sustainability?

Bother because sometime, somewhere you started down the path because something about the potential difference you could make mattered to you.

Bother because nothing is ever known with 100% certainty, and odds are tomorrow we will know more than we did today because you kept trying.

Bother because continuing to question assumptions and the way things are is the only way to make sure we are on the right path, or change that path in a better direction.

Bother because trying and failing is a part of being human; it is how we learn and improve.

Bother because you have a responsibility to yourself and your community to do the best that you know how at any moment in time.

Bother because it is unreasonable for you or anyone else to expect perfection today, or perfection undiminished by the march of time.

Bother because you and the actions that stem from you are enough, important and essential.

So go ahead, let yourself slip on the high-wire a little. Splash down into the swamp of sustainability dilemmas and make the best decisions you can, even if they're not perfect. I for one will be down there to catch you.

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