What is the internal journey to sustainable behaviour?
If you are reading this then it is likely you consider yourself an advocate for sustainable development. If that is correct, then do you know what the psychological growth processes were for you to arrive where you are now and to be doing what you are doing? Might that be interesting to know in order to inform effective behaviour change in others that meets people where they are at?
The main barriers and support for change are not external, they are internal. Strategies that focus upon exterior influences are necessary but inadequate. Indeed, without understanding people’s interior dimensions, exterior interventions can be at best clumsy and at worst counter-productive. In particular, as advocates for sustainable development it is vital that we can listen, understand and respond to people who think differently. How do we skilfully match what we are seeking to achieve with what is important to them?
Exploring psychological frames such as our values and typologies is highly relevant to those seeking a better world to emerge. Research into patterns of psychological development in people show that people do not grow in smooth linear ways, but in distinct stages with very different associated sets of values and behaviours. These stages are stepping stones on the same pathway and yet they are fighting each other in a divisive culture war.
The values associated with these stages act as filters of perception that control how people interpret the world around them. One quite advanced stage is known as ‘green’ or ‘postmodern’ 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. Do you recognise those in yourself?
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 and this is where the challenge for sustainable development advocates lies. The vast majority of the world’s population have not yet developed green stage values and this brings up deep questions:
- 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 education and proven psychological development processes that offer new insight and build new capacities. These can be very valuable for individuals and can also used as the foundation for organisational change.
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.