What do People Find Confusing about Sustainability?

Published on: Aug 14, 2020Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition
Entrepreneurship Campus

By Entrepreneurship Campus

What do People Find Confusing about Sustainability?

Individuals in their daily roles as consumers, citizens, educators, aspiring entrepreneurs, community members, decision-makers, or activists find themselves eager to get started with developing more sustainable lifestyles and societies. At the same time, they are a little bit confused.
For many decades, sustainability has been the focus in numerous sector-specific researches and movements by scientists, environmentalists, lawyers, economists, etc. Rapidly, the concept turned into a catch-all term used to describe current issues. Consequently, to different people, it means so many different things. Therefore, some people even say that the term is overused, misleading, or confusing.
For example, a lot of people commonly think of sustainability as an environmental-related term, mostly because of the early environmental movements that date back to 1889. However, protecting forests and national parks isn’t the whole story. Even though the term covers a vast range of systems, people don’t find it to be concrete.

How to overcome confusion?

The United Nations has ratified the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as a global vision for humanity. The 17SDGs are the easiest way to get infirmed about sustainable development and what can be done at individual and organizational levels to achieve them. The SDGs are well-organized in those that focus on the planet, on people, dignity and justice, and on prosperity. The 17 SDGs include a total of 169 targets. Such detailed classification can be helpful or confusing, especially to a beginner in sustainable development. Indeed this brings to mind a 2015 article by the Economist saying “MOSES brought ten commandments down from Mount Sinai. If only the UN’s proposed list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were as concise.”
Thus, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed if you’re getting started with the SDGs. Even the bright minds at the Economists were confused in the beginning.

This brings us to the root of all kinds of confusion about sustainability: Where do I start when there is so much that needs to be changed? Where do I find the knowledge to use my voice in public and spread/take the right action? How to make sustainability more inclusive? How can I be innovative and fix the root cause of a problem and not just patch it up?

Get started with Entrepreneurial Knowledge


One answer is sustainable entrepreneurship. You start with entrepreneurial training and gain knowledge that can be applied in business ideas that also solve real-world issues that are also targeted by the SDGs. One of the advantages of entrepreneurial education is that one does need a university degree to start a business. Experience has shown that many successful entrepreneurs never got a university diploma but that didn’t stop them from being lifelong learners. This leads to another inclusive feature of entrepreneurial training. Age is not a limitation to start a business. Entrepreneurial training benefits young people who have more time, but no experience as well as adults who have more experience but didn’t have the opportunity at a younger age.


Start talking about the SDGs

There is a notable difference when young people start talking about sustainable development. For example, citizens can be more influenced when young people talk about sustainability compared to when some politician does it for the sake of saying. Children and young people can start making a change in their households by pushing their families towards more sustainable lifestyles in their day-to-day life. Young people shouldn’t worry about the lack of experience in matters of sustainability. There’s no need to be an expert because now there no time to become an expert and then take action.

In a nutshell, starting a social enterprise or trying to convince people to be more active and informed about their choices can't be a piece of cake, but in the long term, it can have a huge impact.
You can put yourself to the test. Think about the most frustrating problem in your community and city. Think about practical ways of how it can be solved without creating additional issues. Define the SDG related to the idea and join the 2020 Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition.

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