If We’re Serious About Sustainability…

August 6, 2007 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

It’s kind of a silly title because if we were serious about sustainability, we would already be on our way to building a sustainable future. While some scientists and leaders have suggested that we may have 10 years (now 9 years) to make a course correction before it becomes unchangeable, since it’s not even a conversation piece yet, it seems we have a long way yet to go which brings me to the title. If we want to coax the rest of society into a sustainable direction, we have to acknowledge the obstacles we face.

For example, we would normally look toward government to identify the sustainability need and lead us toward it, but today’s governmental system is more managerial in nature and doesn’t want to “rock the boat.” Today we are offered a consumer based solution to a greener future, but a nine year timetable does not offer the immediate and drastic changes that may be required. The American Congress and Presidency are more concerned with how to reconcile the current revenue streams and capacities to maintain our economy rather than deal with some vague threat.

However, in last week’s entry I noted that a sustainable economy will be a subset of our current economy as it will be far more efficient with fewer resources. This is an interesting point because it suggests that such a sustainable system could also operate in parallel with what we already have. What is the significance of this? Well, it offers us a seamless transition to a sustainable economy without having to “dismantle” what we already have – one of the great fears of our government managers.

By “planting and growing” a system from the start, it offers several advantages. It offers a sustainable counter-balance to our consumer society providing immediate reductions in green house gases. A parallel system is the most efficient way because it encourages as many people to voluntarily migrate to the sustainable economy as possible. The pioneers of this sustainable system will also become examples to those living outside the system to encourage a new way of living. The beauty of it is that if it is good, it will grow and if it’s a bad idea, it will wither.

I truly believe that for any civilization, the road to a bright and hopeful future has only one path and that is through a sustainable way of life. So, if we’re going to get where we need to go, we need to admit what the obstacles are in order to develop solutions. The American government, for one, faces shortfalls in revenues for Social Security, Medicare, education and infrastructure repair and replacement. With some creative thinking, these liabilities can be managed and mitigated if integrated with a plan to develop sustainable systems.

On The Web

US Comptroller General Issues Warning
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/80fa0a2c-49ef-11dc-9ffe-0000779fd2ac.html

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Entry filed under: Consumerism, Design, Environment, Philosophy, Sustainability.

Our Common Future The Hidden Challenge

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