This is a community post, untouched by our editors.

There are big problems, and then there are BIG problems. Looking around at what we’re doing to our planet, it’s easy to see that we’re now living in the middle of quite a few very big problems. How do we save our Earth from the devastation that we’re causing to it? Due to the interconnectedness of life, making a simple adjustment to one small area, whether good or bad, creates rippling effects. We see it happen every day:

As we see the increasing levels of destruction affect the world around us, we are realizing that sustainability is no longer a feel-good action, but an inherent part of being a steward of this planet. Every big or little action that we take can have profound affects when each one of us adds to the collective efforts. And that brings about the purpose of The Psychology of Sustainability series. At Urban Times, four writers will be exploring this topic, as we discuss the various angles of sustainability that we humans need to look at in order to find responsible and effective ways to take care of our environment.

[Previous: Green Feedback Loop: The People's Kaleidescope  - Part 1]

(CDC) Public Health Library and Information Center (PHLIC) in Atlanta, Georgia (courtesy: Free Stock Photos)

I’ll be looking at this conversation through the eyes of the institutions that drive our society. We recognize the importance of these behemoths that drive our social climate. Whether they be nation states and their institutions, or corporations, or sports organizations, their public actions influence and even directly affect the way in which we live our own private lives.

We’ll initially cover their ways of thinking; because of their size and reach, their world view will be quite different from an individual’s point of view. What causes the difference? Can we as individuals influence the way that they think and act? What will it take to make responsible changes part of our new norm? Once we get an idea of what makes them tick, then we’ll look at some of their actions to see if they are actually making positive impacts on our planet. If not, then what will we need to do to make improvements to these institutions?

There will be three cases, which I will explore in the series, that will help us to understand the scope of actions we need to assist with:

  • Sciences -> NASA’s sustainability program
  • Politics -> Olympic Green
  • Commerce -> Corporate’s Sustainable Brain

All of us understand the importance of incorporating sustainability in our everyday world. And yet, it’s hard to make the necessary changes if our largest institutions don’t realize that they are an active part of the stewardship of Earth and all of its living inhabitants.

So, each writer wants to help move the conversation forward to show these institutions that we, the people, are serious about protecting what’s truly important to us all. It’s way past time to push past the superficial and delve into the psychology of sustainability, because it’s our global way of life that we’re talking about here.