Cultural Sustainability: facing the challenges of establishing a new field



Cultural Sustainability is a new and emergent field and, as so, it is not established in the world as a “dominant” field. Which means that those very words (Cultural Sustainability) and all the work and theory that they contain, have the risk of:

  • Being dismissed, unvalued, discredited and even made fun of and, because of that, becoming a marginal field, with little impact on the larger social system.


  • Being appropriated by the current dominant system, in a way that is transformed uniquely in a commodity to generate profit, or in a “green-wash” theory that is in service of maintaining the unsustainability of the system, instead of transforming it.


  • Remaining as a vague or hermetic field, only palatable for specialists or people who work with creativity and innovation, but not becoming a solid, concrete field, that can be become common sense for larger audiences.


Therefore, the culture of Cultural Sustainability – its worldviews, traditions, knowledges, pioneers, legacy – must be strengthened and conserved, in such a way that it has a preserved past, a strong present and an inspiring future. And this will only be possible if:

  • Universities and research centers are willing to do theoretical and practical research on this theme, and to share with the larger community its findings and results


  • Centers of alternative education and innovation are willing to experiment with the concept, to generate case studies and new ideas


  • Public, private and non-profit organizations are willing to implement Cultural Sustainability worldviews and frameworks as part of their organizational cultures and of the syllabus of their in company trainings


  • Leaders are willing to incorporate Cultural Sustainability as part of their worldviews and work and to become facilitators of the field

This requires that all those stakeholders have: (i) courage to innovate and make changes; (ii) faith on the power of emergent ideas; (iii) patience to face questionings and the ups of downs of experimenting new ideas; (iv) solid reference work and theory that will help them to navigate through this cultural transition.

In face of all that, my role and my challenge is to:

  • Use my leadership and mediation skills to facilitate transition, so people and institutions can find courage, faith and patience to make changes and incorporate Cultural Sustainability in their life and work


  • Train new facilitators in my courses, coaching sessions and workshops


  • Systematize and organize knowledge on Cultural Sustainability, to offer to those stakeholders some solid reference to work with


  • Work within me the qualities of courage, faith and patience during the process of opening space to be heard and valued by those institutions and people I want to partner with


  • Have the ethical strength to stick to the essence of what is Cultural Sustainability, instead of giving up or “bending” the field to suit the market rules

Doing this work alone would be even more challenging. Therefore, those universities, centers of innovation and disruptive education, organizations and leaders who are two steps ahead of their time, and already see Cultural Sustainability as a “must be”, will be essential to achieving these goals.

You know who you are. Will you come with me?

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