Tapping into our creative streak helps us cope with stress (aka develop resilience), appreciate beauty and approach life with a positive sense of energy, curiosity and hope. Creativity is a special renewable resource at the heart of sustainable living.
Parallels Between Creativity and Sustainable Living
Creativity and sustainable living require us to think differently and use our imaginations to generate fresh ideas to solve problems. Thinking and being creative helps us go outside the established or expected ways.
My concept of creativity was associated with esteemed artists in art galleries and authors with well-known books. These people had tangible evidence of their work for the world to admire.
Clearing my creative blocks – traditional perceptions of art, formal education essay writing and the perception that others were more creative – gave me space for my creativity to grow.
My first move into creativity was maternity leave. A kind of Gap Year from the paid workforce, which shifted priorities as I began riding the wave of things “not going to plan”.
This special Gap Year was the impetus for realising I was creative. But the creative cookie crumbs have always been there.
Impact of Creativity on Sustainability
Seeing potential in tangible things comes with a seedling thought – “there’s something I could do with that!” Bringing the idea to fruition may not come quickly, but it comes at the right time for the right situation.
Creative thinking starts with a need and a problem. My need was a tabletop clothes rack for a market display. My problem:-
– choosing not to buy one new or even secondhand,
– missing out on being gifted one in the Buy Nothing group, and
– the rack needed to fold flat-ish to fit in the car.
These three “problems” lead to making a unique, suitable-for-what-I-needed clothes rack: simply large photo frames (without glass and backing) and twine.
ReNewy Living has workshops that empower us to live sustainably. A creative focus helps us think outside the square, see the possibilities and contribute to making change.
Local council bulky waste collections and the Buy Nothing group are never ending sources of inspiration. However, one of my first inspirations was Reverse Garbage in Sydney. It’s a mecca for resource possibilities and also sees waste as a resource to be repurposed or reused.
Creativeness is a Process
Similarly to living sustainably, embedding creativity into our daily lives is a different journey for everyone. There are at least four reasons why embedding creativity helps us live sustainably:-
Tapping into our creative side helps us see things from a range of perspectives, which allows us to see that the world doesn’t need to follow black-and-white thinking. We can shine and thrive amongst the shades of grey.
2. Nurture a Sense of Togetherness
Creative ideas and actions nurture a sense of togetherness. Eco-friendly living is easier and more fulfilling when we work together on the common aim – to ensure safe and liveable places for all life on earth by reducing our extreme reliance on the planet’s limited resources.
3. Become More Interesting People
When we take an interest in ourselves, our people, our places and our life on earth, we become more interesting people in our community. Interesting people do things and are curious knowledge-sharers. Interestingness profoundly affects how our unique, creative choices can inspire others.
4. Embracing Imperfection
Creativity permits us to get it wrong before we nail it. We are destined to make mistakes. It’s a shame that mistakes are often associated with negative connotations, so a more positive spin on mistakes is imperfection. Our mistakes help us embrace our imperfections which we can use to progress to the next step in the journey of creativity or living sustainably.
Perspective, togetherness, taking interest, and imperfection are elements we need for an adaptable and ever-changing world. Creativeness is a process for us to enjoy to make us stronger and, to a greater extent, resilient to change.
If you feel you’re at the beginning stages of understanding your creativity, consider yourself a Creatively Sustainable Ally. Admire others who show how creativity can be a part of their everyday sustainable living. Someone in your community may inspire you and unknowingly help towards taking your first step of creative thinking with a sustainable mindset.
Diversity in Sustainable Living
Sustainable living is as diverse as the types of creativity we have the potential to tap into. Using our creative ideas and perspectives, we’ll gain wholehearted empathy and a greater understanding of why we do what we do for the benefit of people and the planet.