Year is changing but are we? Wisdom is supposed to be gained with time and experience, but when you look at the broader picture, rather than wisdom, we got more bottoms. Although campaigns appear to convey more and more sustainability related messages, our interests are becoming more and more paradoxical. We got emotional when we see campaigns showing us the despair of the poorest and pollution getting on our coasts or touching remote villages, but we are so happy to hear that fuel prices are decreasing thanks to… shale gas (!) one of the most polluting energy resources. So what are the highlights of 2014 and what should we expect of 2015 in terms of sustainability?
2014 will be remembered as a competition of the biggest bottom showed and shaken on TV, rather than a year, where women cause such as education right fight has been awarded by a Nobel Prize or when Greenpeace damaged the Nazca Lines in Peru to denounce… environmental damage during the UN climate summit in Lima. Thoughtful communication (-_-‘). 2015 will be the year where the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris, but this may be eluded by other bottoms’ shadows. Sad but true don’t you think?
January is probably the moment of the year when everybody lists her/his resolutions to become a better person. But let’s face it, this moment of grace never sustains and lasts only the time one finishes the list, or in the best cases when the list is put over the fridge’s door. Yet, it is a big challenge in our world full of paradoxes to stick to good resolutions.
Sharing vs Individualism
Today, everything seems to be about sharing. All social media and recent campaigns are encouraging people to share and collaborate with each other. But share what exactly? More data about what we are doing, like selfies of you skiing, drinking and for some, even sitting on the throne. Have you ever noticed some people in public taking their own portrait and actually… not caring neither sharing anything with their actual and real surroundings? Besides, the number of likes we can collect from our posts has become so important, since it is perceived as a sign of popularity that only feeds our self-esteem, a popularity we can show and love to share. The rise of always better smartphones may not help. However, such shared moments can lead to some benefits such as emulation of good actions. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? My favorite one is the one made by Matt Damon, because he points out a key issue: Non-access to potable water in many countries. So why not actual sharing rather than go for a quest of shining?
Gender Equality vs Deeper Inequality
Gender equality and women rights’ causes got more covered by the media in 2014, probably thanks to famous ambassadors such as bankable actresses like Emma Watson. Step by step we are going forward. Remember the “Research Institute” by Lego? And the great unisex baby room logo at Paris airports! Yes, men are also capable of changing diapers. Though, the merchandising and the packaging of most toys shelves remains selling baby dolls for girls, with of course the kitchenette, iron and vacuum cleaner that goes with, while superhero dolls – yes dolls, they are dolls after all – are targeting little boys. We all know that what is taught at an early age sustains, so is that the type of message we want to remain?
Natural vs Plastic Surgery
All over the media, some well-known female “singers”, who are actually better known for their plastic rather than good music, are telling in their lyrics how proud they are of their derrière and how it is a real “seduction” tool, while doing racy performances for increasing sales at a worldwide scale. But one can understand 2 messages:
1- Should we be shaped like them to fancy people?
2- Should we be proud and accept how we are?
The journalist Esther Honig created such a buzz in 2014 with her photo experience in 25 countries highlighting that beauty standards vary across cultures, and the common love of Photoshop to reach these cultural aesthetic ideals. No wonder why so many long for looking like these made-up characters, if we are told this and that are beauty criteria. Although Dove celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, we are still listening to what we think are aesthetic canons dictated by our society; beauty standards that unfortunately more and more people are trying to reach at the expense of their real wellbeing. It is such a pity that Dove’s powerful messages such as “beauty is a state of mind”, “talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does” or “don’t manipulate our perceptions of real beauty” have still limited effects. We are encouraging people to be as they are, but we are still using Photoshop to have them as we, the society, want them to be. Wouldn’t it be better to show that people are actually beautiful, when they act beautifully like Jane Chen, co-founder of Embrace, a non-profit organization that provides low-cost incubators in developing countries?
Privacy vs Data Bulimia
Big Data or hacked accounts are the words we see and hear in the media that make us militate more and more for data privacy. But let’s be honest, we love gather data and see what is happening in others’ house. The rise of new devices created to monitor our lifestyle that are connected to the other bunch of devices we have, and the rise of always more and more reality TV shows prove our “secret” love for… gossips and non-privacy! In 1949, George Orwell already warned us with 1984. And here we are, more than 65 years later, trying to reach out a Big Brother world, but complaining as soon as an option in Facebook privacy setting is modified.
Acting Sustainably vs Acting Sustainably
Once your resolutions list is finished, let’s take some time and wonder: How will I act?
A- Act as an engaged person?
B- Act as a comedian?