by: MERITA MAKSUTI
Starting from my field as an architect and environmental activist, I could focus only on topics related to my profession and activist background, such as urban landscaping, green buildings, green roofs, energy efficiency, but that would refer to only one segment of these values that are a complex summary of values, and that is why I want to reflect on behaviours that are deeper than a professionally focused article.
These values arise from an individual’s need for broader understanding of all phenomena that are connected to our living environment, environment in the broadest sense of the word ecological, sociological, cultural and political.
Environmental problems cannot be solved without deeper understanding of the ethical principles of making important decisions in the life of the modern society. For starters, I will try to scratch the surface of this complex thought and approach.
Green values? Do we really know what they mean, how they are acquired, learned, how and where they are applied, why they are applied and why not? Yes, many questions about a concept that actually in translation, simply said, is a lifestyle with a high level of awareness of belonging with a special and healthy mental matrix of thinking and acting. Familiar in the developed world, applicable and mostly present in the Scandinavian and countries with a high level of awareness towards the collective, and which, by the way, are the last bastion and model of openness, real democracy and progress.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned, the need of cultivating healthy personal relationships from an early age is key, starting from kindergarten, in the relationship teacher-pupil, parent-child, employer-employee, politician-citizen, and why not also religious leader-believer, they are all key in prioritizing this set of values.
The same not only reflect on the environment as an ecosystem, but also much broader, more extensively, on education, finance, entrepreneurship, civil engineering, urbanism, art… actually, our relationship with ourselves, our health, education, stability and security. In order for me to be able to say that I foster and support these values, first of all, I need to live every segment of life applying them.
With this personal reflection I would like to remind myself and even the general public that we have no other way, but to change the way! The basic green values are exceptionally important in meeting the environmental, social and economic challenges of nowadays, hence we have no other way but to start thinking globally and to apply locally, and even regionally. The problem of sustainable development of societies is no longer someone’s out there, but YOUR, OURS, we are no longer pardoned from the responsibility, as we too feel the consequences.
The culture of behaviour and the attitude towards everything that “is not mine”, needs to change immediately. But for the attitude to change, the change has to take place within us, and for us to come out of a physical and mental comfort zone and to start being concerned about every segment of society that is not good. Difficult? Well, it will be even more difficult when it becomes too late. It is very important, for instance, how one communicates with the public and how, for example, the consequences of global warming are conveyed, which will actually mean temperature increase by 2 degrees Celsius, surely not a more favourable climate, but rather floods of unimaginable proportions, enormous migrations and relocation of entire cities.
That is why, perhaps the worn-out phrase, but still relevant for this problem, is that changes should happen at an individual level, primarily, also by personal example. The environmental identity of each of us is very important, and by the way, is nothing without appropriate work of the mantra that should be repeated and applied every day: respect, learn, inform yourself, react, participate, activate yourself, recycle, use again, do not spend water without a need, plant, take care, walk, be responsible, equal, do not put yourself above others… and so on.
How can we manage human societies, while not having understood that we are part of nature, and not above it, nor that we own it? It is increasingly more becoming clear that human behaviour is directly related to the negative effects of nature, air pollution, water, reduction of biodiversity. That is why we need to study and promote environmental behaviour. And that is why in this context I would like to mention that prioritizing altruistic and biospheric behaviour is the key to change.
We will all agree that we want a good standard of living, well-being, health (now more than ever), environmental diversity, collective vitality, good governance, cultural diversity and education, which are actually also the areas from where the Human Happiness Index and the Human Development Index-HDI are measured, and for illustration, when we are already on this sub-topic, North Macedonia ranked 82nd in 2019 out of 189 world countries. This needs to be worked on seriously.
And as for the political action and institutional representation through examples and action, in another text with other arguments!