Over the last couple of years, I have had the good fortune to work on projects that, at their centre, champion varying forms of sustainability, well-being and mindfulness. Jaundiced by a press that sometimes portrayed the people and principles behind such ventures as "do-gooding greenies", I initially approached with some caution, expecting to find New Age converts clothed in white cheesecloth shirts, humming on mountaintops at sunrise.
While it's true that _ as in any new movement _ there are some who precipitate the perception that sustainability, wellness and mindfulness is an alternative movement for latter-day hippies, I now see my original mindset as alarmingly shallow and supercilious.
The bottom line is the world that we have created is unsustainable and we have to take some radical steps to turn the tide. By "sustainable" I do not refer just to the environment but also to societies, cultures and relationships. In some countries the divorce rate floats about 50%. The average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is about 3.5 years. We see increasing numbers of teenage children faltering under the stifling expectations placed on them by parents and the education system to outperform academically in order to make it to the next step of the University-Good Job-Money-Generating conveyor belt. Most companies remain focused on short-term commercial success (those damned quarterly earnings reports) at the expense of their societal and humanitarian roles. My father worked for Colman's Mustard in the UK for 35 years, a company that originally provided schools, a hospital, free transport and subsidised housing to their workers. This wasn't the most obvious way to enhancing short-term profits but reflected a strong sense of social responsibility.
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