Considering the impact of food on stress: does stress prevent us from being and thinking sustainably?

Our discussion is taking us further into the otherwise much neglected personal and social domain of sustainability. I am fascinated by Kathy Miller’s response to my initial blog post which suggested a lack of coherence between what we know and what we do in addressing sustainability challenges. Kathy’s February blog considered the inter-connection between multiple attitudes and values of a person, the influence of other people on us, as well as normative societal prescriptions. The follow-on discussion on our blog was most stimulating to read. One commenter expressed his happy surprise about connecting the methodology of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to being able to combat his own “addiction to a high carbon lifestyle”. Interestingly the principles of AA emerged out of the Initiative of Change Movement (IofC) out of Caux, above Montreux in Switzerland. IofC is, to my understanding, one of the longest living change movements in history (initially called the Moral Re-Armament) and has played a significant role in the peace talks between Germany and France after the Second World War. They run a series of conferences in the summer months up at Caux (heaven on earth!), including TIGE (Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy) from July 5-10, 2014. I am featuring a chapter of why IofC and Caux are so special in my upcoming book “The Collaboratory” (Greenleaf Publishing, July 2014).


We do have solutions to the inconsistency dilemma – are we willing to apply them?

We continue this month with Kathy Miller Perkins on the lack of consistency between our attitudes and behaviour, and how we can shape our personal commitments to fit with our values.

Last month Katrin Muff launched our transatlantic blog by discussing the lack of coherence between what we know and what we do to address the challenges of sustainability.  She maintained that we understand what is at stake (at least most of us do – maybe more in Europe than in the USA).  And, in general, we know what we could do to address the challenges.  However, so often we fail to act accordingly. Katrin suggested that we should strive for greater consistency between our attitudes and our behaviour. I agree with her assertions.  Yet even my own behaviour isn’t always consistent with my espoused values and attitudes. And this inconsistency is common! As it turns out, there are many factors in addition to our sustainability-related values that influence our behaviours.

There is so much we do – why isn’t there a higher impact?

Welcome to The Transatlantic Debate Blog. We are starting with Business School Lausanne Dean Katrin Muff on how coherence is vital to helping us build a sustainable future:

Launching the transatlantic debate, I would like to address COHERENCE – and the lack thereof – and its importance in transforming small actions at various levels into the massive transformation required to prepare for a world and society in which 9 billion people will live well (WBCSD’s Vision 2050) together.

If I look at any of the three levels of analysis (individual, institutional, societal, as championed by the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative GRLI), it becomes blatantly obvious to what degree there is a lack of coherence between what we know, and what we do.