June 23, 2011

Can Business Gurus Inspire Consumers To Live a Sustainable Lifestyle?

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Can Business Gurus Inspire Consumers To Live a Sustainable Lifestyle?

That’s the question the folks in the natural products industry and other big brand businesses are exploring in Boulder, Colorado this week. LOHAS is the acronym that translates to Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. Stay tuned for the latest cutting edge ideas coming from the heart of “Organic Land”.

Changing individual human behavior is the key to our future. This issue has been a passion of mine since 1985 when I was fortunate to help design the first “Choices for the Future” symposia at the Windstar Foundation. We wanted to know if  love, joy and a positive alternative vision could be the catalyst for measurable behavioral change, or if fear, pain and suffering was the primary path to awakening. Answering that question would require another article. Ultimately, I discovered what I already knew, consciousness is at the heart of the matter. How we think is as important as what we think. What we think affects what we say and what we say affects how we act in the world. All of our behavior is affected by our consciousness. It’s a nicely woven tapestry of interconnectedness that few people explore. For Elephant Journal readers this may be patently obvious, most of our population prefers the comfort of a “go along and get alone” existence, remaining in a sleep walk, accepting their unexamined lives.

Improving the quality of life is often the purpose of non-profit organizations. Julia Butterfly Hill (the courageous protector of Redwood trees) likes to call the so called non-profit entities For Benefit Organizations. That’s a really nice way to think about the essence of their work. Benefitting the whole requires a consciousness that we are all in this journey together – some refer to this as enlightened self interest.

Dynamic business leaders are gradually grasping these concepts of integral awareness and the importance of deep ecological principles. In Boulder, the for-profit sector will explore how their business practices can affect our society for the better. Anyone interested in the triple bottom line approach to corporate social responsibility will find many members of their tribe at the St. Julien Hotel for the next few days! Participants will be doing their best to determine the optimal path to a happy and healthy future. It is worth noting they are not alone in their inquiry. Helena Norberg-Hodge has recently released a film entitled, The Economics of Happiness. This film is an important contribution to an often avoided subject.

Greening our world at the LOHAS conference

Whole systems, ecological thinking will most definitely be in vogue.

This conference is where connecting the dots between business practices, human behavior, ecological balance and the quality of life on Earth will not be avoided.  There will be lots of advocates for a transformational shift away from  “business as usual”

Many presenters and attendees alike want to see a radical transformation toward authentic sustainable business practices implemented immediately. A shift in consciousness and behavior are both necessary to green our ailing world.

The next order of business is to determine how to effectively invite the so called “main-stream consumers” to join in this movement. Can we call it a movement yet?

Onward with courage!
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