Can Leisure Contribute to Sustainability?
Leisure is considered as human phenomena, which is both personal and collective and critical to human survival. Further, leisure is placed in three contexts; personal, societal or cultural, and system contexts. Our focus is on the relation of leisure with sustainability and how it can be related with WHO’s definition of health.
The context of leisure that can be well related with the pillars of sustainability is the system context, where leisure is used for social good. The pillars of sustainability are focused at creating a sustainable world in social, economic and environmental aspects. Similarly, system context of leisure seeks to ensure that one’s leisure is used productively in improving the economy, protecting the environment, as well as improving the social welfare. In essence, experiences of leisure can enhance civic engagements, and offer significant peer to adult, peer to peer, or peer to community connections, thus strengthening social and cultural ties. Further, social experience of leisure provides opportunities to learn loyalty, empathy, intimacy and communication skills. If the social systems are weak, then the economical and environmental sustainability will be given little or no priority. Consequently, a poor nation does not have consideration for environmental protection.
The definition of leisure as spending time in social settings to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports, relates well with one of the key definitions of health by the WHO. According to world health organization, health is a complete social, mental and physical well-being. For one to achieve a complete physical fitness, he or she has to engage in physical activities such as jogging, playing football, basketball, lifting weights and other physical activities.
Leisure is related to sustainability in the sense that it strengthens social relations which is critical to economic and environmental development .
Additionally, some aspects of leisure such as engagement in extra-curricular activities coincide with WHO’s definition of health as including physical fitness. Physical fitness can only be achieved by engagement on extracurricular activities.