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Sustainable Ways of Living Issue Brief Series: Creating and Sharing Values of Sustainable Living through Bridging Diverse Types of Knowledge and Skills

  • Published on February 19, 2022

Local people and groups have the necessary wisdom and capabilities to address local sustainability challenges and contribute to global sustainability. Changing the ways in which they consume and produce can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,  resource use, and waste generation. Local groups across the world also protect the natural environment, and plan and implement disaster management measures. 

However,  such people or groups are sometimes challenged when faced with local and global sustainability challenges. Further, local families and groups are often reluctant to change their modes of production and consumption due to tradition or convention, and even if new behaviours are introduced, sometimes only partially adopt them.  In particular, for the very poor, adopting new ways of doing things and participating in collective actions can be seen as a burden or risk. 

Therefore,  it is essential to clearly demonstrate the benefits and promote  ‘learning by doing’ to help participating families and individuals adopt new patterns while contributing to sustainability at local and global levels.

The report proposed various values that can be presented to local participants and organisations, including cost reduction in production and consumption, livelihood diversification, health and environmental improvement, and broader and more proactive engagement with diverse people. 

Secondly, the report demonstrated that a closer evaluation and the use of local knowledge and resources is vital to supporting sustainable ways of living. The report proposed identifying, re-evaluating and utilising underutilised resources and taking advantage of the local knowledge embedded in everyday activities.

Thirdly, the report showed that it is helpful to consider the related aspects such as conventional ways of living, from different angles, such as through combining different forms of wisdom or forming hybrid types of wisdom. In particular, the report recommended 

  1. applying technologies from outside, or re-evaluation of the situation from the perspective of outsiders,
  2. networking with external organisations such as national-scale NGOs or expert groups is desirable for achieving broader value creation, and
  3. evaluating the value gained from an activity from more than one perspective.

Finally, the reports suggested three points be kept in mind when planning, implementing and supporting local initiatives:

  1. Activities should involve demonstration of the possible financial benefits to households as well as benefits in daily life
  2. Wisdom, technologies and resources have greater impact when combined
  3. Profit/income generation can be considered for self-sustainable initiatives

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