How about Humour for Sustainability

13 Aug

If humour is a mark of culture, then I like to maintain that self-irony is a mark of a mature culture, by which I really mean self-irony or the ability to laugh at oneself, to take oneself lightly. That goes for one’s self as well as any group or community within a culture, whether it be a religious group, a gender group or an NGO with an agenda. It also, to my mind, goes for the sustainability group, all of us riding that Great Hobbyhorse of Sustainability. Every now and then I like to use a cartoon (as you may have noticed here) or some other form of humour in my lectures. Until a relatively short while ago it was extremely difficult – if not impossible – to find any cartoons, jokes or skits in comedy shows about sustainability. I mean I got really excited when I found the cartoon below a few years back.

This next one was mailed to me just a few weeks ago (thanks Nancy!) and I still got excited about a “green cartoon”. Then I discovered that Code Green is a whole series by political cartoonist Stephanie Macmillan. There’s a whole website of them here.

I still think we Sustainabilites could work more on our self-depreciatory skills. And now I’ve discovered another reason why that might be a very good thing. Reading over the summary of John Cleese’s Tips on How To Be More Creative, humour turns up as one of the five conditions he mentions. He describes it as an essential part of the creativity we need to solve problems, no matter their seriousness. Serious problems? That sounds just up Sustainability’s street. You can find it on Garr Reynold’s excellent blog, called Presentation Zen, here.

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One Response to “How about Humour for Sustainability”

  1. Shine Raju February 20, 2014 at 07:31 #

    “If humour is a mark of culture, then I like to maintain that self-irony is a mark of a mature culture, by which I really mean self-irony or the ability to laugh at oneself, to take oneself lightly.” A brilliant article with an excellent opening. Hats off to you.

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