We met up with Simon and Devan, the co-authors of Green is Not a Colour. They explained why they wrote the book and why increasing the awareness of sustainability is so important.
Say what? Green is not a colour? No, I didn’t miss art class in school. I’m talking about “going green,” the long-loved term to describe looking after Earth by making smarter choices that least impact our natural environment. We often assume this topic is reserved only for the nature lovers and experts. I’m here to tell you that going green is actually extremely scientific and highly crucial to our life here on Earth.
I meet up with Simon Atlas and Devan Valenti on the 15th of December to chat about their latest book Green is Not a Colour. It’s a book about sustainability which covers five of our most important industries. But we’ll get to that in a short while.
First thing’s first – how did this cool project start? Simon and Devan met at university. Devan explains that the two of them are very like-minded and share similar convictions, especially when it comes to sustainability. As a result, it wasn’t long after they both graduated that the two of them went on the exciting journey to create a book that explores the importance of the environment and living sustainably.
The Brundtland definition of sustainability is as follows, take note since this is the crux of the article:
…development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
If you’re looking for more information, check this link out.
I asked the two of them how they decided on the title of the book. They explain that the title of the book is a way to challenge people to give greater consideration and thought to what sustainability really is, and what it truly means to “go green”. Many people consider the environmental movement to be a sort of trend, when in fact it is an extremely important and growing issue in our world. Due to the misconceptions and misinformation out there, people often fail to dig deeper the real issues at hand and the opportunities it brings. Many individuals, organisations and corporations resort to a method called “greenwashing,” which means that they try to look like the way that they are living is environmentally friendly, yet, when you look closer it’s just an act.
“With the amount of greenwashing today, it’s quite easy to “look” sustainable and eco-friendly without truly living up to the image. They’ll design a building that has a wind turbine, or a few plants to make it look as though it is ‘environmentally friendly’, but these efforts may be small in comparison to the real environmental impact the building is having. Although such efforts can help, they don’t always solve the real problems at hand.”
The book aims to change our view that ‘going green’ is not just simply a trendy thing to do. Instead it makes a clear statement that sustainable living is one of the most important things we can be doing, and about creating a better future for our world.
True to its name, the book has been printed on sustainably forested paper. The cover is PEFC certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), while the inside pages are FSC certified paper (Forest Stewardship Council Certified). In simple terms – this kind of paper is manufactured by companies that replant the trees that they cut down and use less energy to convert the timber into paper.
The book explores 5 major industries and shows both the existing problems within them and the potential solutions available to solve them. These industries are:
2. Food and Agriculture
4. Consumer Goods
5. Buildings and Cities
The book is presented in a beautiful, reader-friendly format.
Devan states that,
“One of the great characteristics of the book is that the information is easily understandable – meaning that anyone can gain great knowledge and insight form reading it. We wrote it in question format so that it can be read in an orderly fashion, from front to back, or opened up to any page whereby something new can be learnt in a matter of minutes!”
Thinking of pursuing a career in sustainability?
This part is only good news for you! Do you love the idea of living sustainably and using your career to change the way the world does things, but science really just isn’t your thing? Don’t worry. Both Devan and Simon agree that almost every career sector has an important role in contributing to a better world and protecting the environment for future generations. Lawyers, scientists, engineers, architects, teachers, and almost every other career path out there can make a positive impact in the world and help to steer us into a healthier, more sustainable future. In fact, we need them to! Here are a few examples:
- Engineers have the opportunity to design and develop more environmentally friendly ways of designing structures such as buildings and bridges, or finding more efficient systems to manage precious resources such as energy and water.
- Architects are able to design buildings that make use of sustainable materials, and compliment the surrounding natural environment. By using more environmentally conscious design processes, energy and water needs can be reduced, and healthy living environments can be created.
- Lawyers can enact policies that help to protect areas of biodiversity and bring justice to those who are causing environmental destruction. People who want to study law can further their education by diving into environmental law.
- Advertising and marketing teams can use their creativity and flair to find more sustainable ways to advertise and market products, that lead people to make more responsible choices in life.
- Scientists can research and develop new materials and technologies that are more recyclable, use less energy and resources that are more environmentally friendly.
- Office Managers and businessmen can provide the necessary leadership to help their companies adopt more sustainable ways of doing businesses, from the way they deal with their waste, to the types of products they sell, to the investment decisions they make, their businesses can operate in a way that carries a lower environmental footprint.
Every career path has a crucial role to play in bringing about the change we so desperately need in our world.
Choose which career path suits your personality, and then choose a degree at a university or college that will empower you to pursue a career in that area. Develop a vision for how you can use your education, skills and passions to contribute to creating a better world.
Devan studied a BA in Environmental Science and then continued to do his Honours and Masters in Environmental Management. Simon studied Applied Design at the Stellenbosch Academy and then studied Architecture at UCT. Both guys completed different degrees, yet they’re both doing their bit to contribute to preserving and protecting our planet. We need every person in every profession and every industry to find ways to steer our world on a sustainable path.
Read this article to find out more about the careers and subject choices each needs.
Ignoring the problem is no longer an option. The world’s resources are depleting and something needs to be done. Not just by major organisations, but by you and I as well. The average Joe can make more a difference than you may realise. Read this next article to get some tips from Simon and Devan on how you can start making a difference in your own life and encourage others.
FYI: “Green is Not A Colour: Environmental Issues every Generation Needs To Know” is available in all major books stores but can also be purchased online at Loot and Takealot.