What drives sustainable behaviour?

Emerging from sustainable to regenerative development

A new framework is emerging globally that is deeply significant for those working in the field of sustainable development. A number of leading researchers have brought together over 100 years of research from developmental psychology with the great religious traditions to offer a new comprehensive understanding of how people grow. This leading edge framework is called integral theory and is grounded in research from such places as Harvard University.

This research is highly relevant to inform and engage those seeking a better world to emerge. It has been shown that people do not grow in smooth linear ways, but in distinct stages with very different associated sets of values and behaviours. Each new stage transcends the previous with greater capacity for complexity, akin to human software upgrades that develop in response to our need to solve sets of wicked problems.

The values associated with these stages act as filters of perception that control how people make meaning from the world around them. One quite advanced stage is known as ‘green’ or ‘pluralistic’ and people who grow to this stage have the capacity to see and understand the global environmental situation and respond with sustainable behaviour. The leading values of this stage are based on care, community and equality.

There are 5 stages of growth before green that have to be traversed in order. These stages rarely exhibit what we regard as sustainable behaviour but they do have distinct and recognisable value systems that need to be effectively communicated with. Most of the world’s population have not yet developed green stage values and this brings up deep questions for advocates of sustainable development:

      • How do we most skilfully assist people’s internal transition to get to green stage?
      • How can we find out about the pathway and the process?
      • How do those responsible for leadership in sustainability engage with the next transition beyond green that is beginning to emerge globally – from sustainable to regenerative development?

If you are interested in these questions, Integral View offers introductory presentations to open up these conversations. Please get in touch for a chat.

I have engaged in personal coaching and organisational analysis with Jonathan after seeing him deliver a number of inspiring presentations on the relationship between human consciousness, sustainability and organisational development. Jonathan offers a deeply inclusive approach that shows and utilises the co-creation between the challenges of our outer environment and the inner development of our human values, providing leading edge insight to more effectively meet the global issues we are facing. I am very happy to recommend his work to other people and organisations, especially those working at the forefront of creating a new sustainable and regenerative culture for people and planet.

Christine Lines, Executive Director, Holistic Centers Network.

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