The sustainability agenda is becoming more widely discussed as more and more people realise their part in returning to nature and having a less harmful impact on the world they live in. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are an example of this discourse, taking place within grassroots movements as well as widely recognised institutions. Strength in communities and the power of the local are prominent in these discussions, as people are looking for an alternative that they can instigate to counter the negative effects that consumerism has had both on our biosphere and society.
As consumers in the West we are completely disconnected from the people and the processes involved in the production of all amenities that we require to live – from food, to electronics and cars, to fashion. Thus far, this disconnection has resulted in a multitude of devastating effects. These include the introduction of vast quantities of plastic to land and the oceans; the depletion of almost all oil and clean water supplies; the pollution of our atmosphere and waterways, as well as the destruction of forests and entire species alike. Of course we have also gone through a digital revolution, bringing humans ever closer to an ease of life that unfortunately is not consistent across the globe, and as aforementioned,is having a truly devastating effect on our environment.
Questions around what we have the power to change, where to improve and how exactly to achieve this are circulating by word of mouth, through online articles with long debates in the form of comments, and have perhaps been theorised upon the most in academia. However,the appearance of this debate on television has been solely concentrated around the principal topics, which, although most people seem to agree upon in terms of making a change, do require implementation within current systems in order to come to life.
Of course, change takes time, but are there actually reasons why these often pressing issues are not being implemented right away? With this series of episodes addressing the key topics where sustainability is being questioned, we propose to investigate the barriers that exist, which are preventing people aligning themselves with the discourse that is offering an otherwise feasible path to sustainability. These may be policies or governing laws that restrict certain behaviours such as the certification process for labelling produce organic; inflated costs that prove too steep for people to make the switch to a better wardrobe, for example; institutions that have been previously celebrated refusing to cooperate or even admit that there has been a change of circumstance; or simply systems and even taboos that have been put in place, which are not favourable for these changes to take place. Hopefully by exposing these barriers to the general public we can question their authority and strive to change the system.