Sustainability is no longer exclusively reserved for green idealists and rebels. Sustainable development goals to make the world a better place are now anchored in the strategy of many companies and organizations. Also, at Eurapco. Yet we are only at the beginning of a collective change. What does sustainability mean for you? How do you start with yourself? How do we help each other on the path towards a brighter future for people, nature and society?
If there is anyone who shows us the beauty and vulnerability of life on Earth in a most impressive way, it is the British biologist and television maker Sir David Attenborough. Countless people have already fallen for the breath-taking nature images of his hand. He is not just showing the natural beauty on our planet. He also reveals the consequences of climate change and the destruction of nature for all living things.
Already well into his 90s, still vital and active, Attenborough reminds us that when he was born, the Earth was more than two-thirds untouched wilderness. Now that is less than a quarter. In the meantime, the growth of the population has skyrocketed. The number of different animal and plant species and plants decreased rapidly. "Honestly, we've destroyed the world," said an impassioned Attenborough for a man not known as a doomsday thinker. His extensive oeuvre is a powerful testimony about the impact of man on nature and a hopeful message for future generations. Attenborough shows that every change starts with us. You and I can make a difference. But what can we do ourselves? What can we do as companies and organizations?
Recently, my husband showed me two mangoes while shopping. One was a standard mango for two Swiss Francs, while the other was an organic mango, for sale for a whopping 7.5 Swiss Francs. Sustainability has now become a revenue model which is absolutely not accessible to everyone. You just have to be able to afford it and a strong desire to do this. Nevertheless, every person can do something in the field of sustainability. Real change starts with us. The great thing about the present time is that more and more people are thinking about sustainability in a certain way and in this way, however so-called 'small' or 'large’, contributing to a positive power of change on their own.
It is therefore important to pay attention to whether there is a "clever trading opportunity" or whether we are dealing with reliable companies and initiatives that work from a pure intention. Now that more and more people, companies and organizations have agreed to take sustainability seriously, let us make it possible for everyone. "Carry each other's burden" is also the starting point of all mutual insurers affiliated within the network of Eurapco. From this point of view, Eurapco has now also added four UN Sustainable Development Goals in its strategy. These are the objectives centred round good health and well-being, fair work and economic growth, responsible production and consumption and climate action. An involved team of senior managers from all affiliated partners have actively started from our "mutual" insurance charter to translate sustainability issues from an abstract level into practical action in the workplace. For example, climate action is working on sustainable investments and a structured approach for our organisations to reduce CO2 emissions, while good health and well-being a lot of attention so-called smart life insurance, and digitisation of healthcare and employee wellbeing.
Paper straws, eating less meat and taking the train more often are beautiful sustainable developments. It is to be welcomed that we are all paying more and more attention to reduce our carbon footprint on Earth. Nevertheless, I have to confess that for me sustainability really starts with the quality of life, for ourselves and with each other. At home and at work. The more your life is balanced, the more sustainable. The more you can live with self confidence in your own life and that of your fellow man, the more sustainable it becomes. The more you give space to the essence of yourself and the other, the more sustainable life becomes. Anxiety, stress, headache, a short fuse, and always being tired is unsustainable.
You can drive electric cars, copy double-sided or wear 'sustainable' clothing, but as far as I am concerned, we can look far deeper and broader at what sustainability means.
Without the right energy within people and organizations, sustainability will be a lost cause. The energy flow patterns in our lives, but also within our organizations, determine the result of the decisions we make on a daily basis. Quantum physics deals with the invisible energetic source from which developments in our lives take shape. We cannot see everything of value with our bare eyes. True sustainability begins for me by giving space to the energy, wisdom, and intelligence from the source of life. That source is accessible within us and in the relationships, we maintain with each other. The connection to that source is only possible from a certain degree of inner calm and balance, an increasing scarcity in our existence.
How often does it happen to us that we lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the world? In times of corona, many of us hurry from one virtual appointment to another. But touching each other less, reduces the production of 'happiness substances', such as oxytocin and endorphins. Many struggle to find the right balance between working and relaxing. Of course, the blessings of the digital world are wonderful. However, it also has its dark sides, for example if we forget ourselves and keep going. For many, it is difficult to set limits. I know many colleagues and people at other companies who continue to help others almost limitless. Telephone calls, apps and e-mail continue in the evening, on weekends and during holidays. Many feel like they should always be there for the other. In the meantime, they are losing touch with themselves. Resulting in dissatisfaction, stress, illness and even loss of self-esteem and burnout.
I, too, tend to keep going. Now I am blessed with an unbridled energy, yet I also must look after myself and make increasingly conscious choices to set limits. I have discovered how, for example, sitting quietly knitting a sweater, I become completely myself again. Or how music helps me to taste new energy in a short time. It makes me happy to take some time to listen to British singer Adele in between the busy work schedule of the day. You can see me dancing in the living room or in the office. After that, I can be there for the other person in a much better way.
Man in the Mirror
It has been scientifically proved that performing or listening to music has a positive influence on a renewed balance between the two hemispheres of the brain. Finding a good balance immediately gives better access to the source of wisdom and intelligence within yourself. It is incredibly fascinating to discover the positive influence of a balanced brain. Take the quality of your life seriously! Go into nature regularly and experience the silence, listen to your favourite music, take more exercise on a regular basis, and make sure you can laugh a lot.
It's great to live together and build a sustainable world. It only becomes gold if we also consciously give space to the energy from the source within ourselves and the other. So just be honest with yourself. Just like the man or woman in the poem hereunder "Man (or Woman) in the Mirror". How sustainable do you experience your own life?
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Man in the Mirror
When you get what you want in your struggle for self and the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what the world has to say
For it is not your brother, father, or lover whose judgement you have to pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life, is the man staring back from the glass
He's the fellow to please
Don't mind all the rest, for he's with you right up to the end
And you have passed your most difficult task in this life, if the man in the glass is your friend
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of life and get pats on your back as you pass
But the final reward with be heartache and tears if you've cheated the man in the glass.