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The Unacknowledged Root Causes of Unsustainability
The Unacknowledged Root Causes of Unsustainability
Benjamin Casteillo
By Benjamin Casteillo
Jun 30 2022 · 2 min read

Illuminem Voices
Sustainability · Climate Change · Mitigation

In a previous article, we have highlighted how human behavior patterns were are at the core of the meta-crisis of sustainability. This time, we are going to explore where these unsustainable patterns come from and how they can be changed:

Collectively changing behavior appears to be the only realistic pathway to integrate our planetary limits and avoid a collapse of our global civilisation. To do so, it seems that we will have to explore part of ourselves that we do not know of yet. In fact, an estimated 95% of our choices and actions are the result of unconscious mechanisms and unless we are collective making a conscious choice to cocreate a global disaster by pushing unsustainability to the limits, our unsustainable behavior patterns stem from unconscious mechanisms which we are not aware of yet.

To better understand the nature of these unconscious patterns, we can use the ABC technique which stands for Antecedent, Behavior, Consequences. Through it we learn that every behavior pattern is the result of past events and has consequences. According to this model, to change a pattern, it is therefore important its antecedent as well as its undesirable consequences. If we use this model to look at the big picture, humanity’s past history had generated certain behavior patterns that are unsustainable and that will lead to a collapse of our civilisation if they are not addressed. In other words, if we want to understand the nature of the patterns that are bringing us on the verge of disaster, we need to understand our past.

Figure 1: using the ABC behaviorial model to better understand the global crisis of sustainability faced by humanity
Figure 1: using the ABC behaviorial model to better understand the global crisis of sustainability faced by humanity

If we take a big step back to look at our species past, we see that sapiens is a new comer on earth. As a by-product of life evolution of animal ancestry, he has spent most of its existence as part of the nature as a hunter gatherer. The sedentarisation of humans is extremely recent in evolutionary, let alone the access to modern technology that has allowed humans to dominate others species. It means that for most of its existence, sapiens had to survive in the wild which as we know of can be quiet dangerous especially for humans that are not particularly powerful physically.

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Benjamin Casteillo
About the author

Benjamin is an ex-corporate senior Manager who has founded New World Together: an Interdisciplinary Research and Education project dedicated to pioneer Global Sustainability with Human Centered Solutions through Mindshifts and Behavior Changes.

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