Sustainability Brief #1. How Serious is it?

We don’t want to scare anyone or come with doomsday prophesies. But ask yourself: is the society we are living in today capable of continuing on the path it is going for the next one, two, five, seven generations? In the words of the Bruntland committee ”Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The answer is, of course, that the Earth and humanity look to be on a collision course. Meeting our needs today is definitely compromising future generations.

If you ask scientists you will probably hear (and they are all unusually in agreement) that the changes in climate are so drastic that the possibility of collapse is as close as 20 years away. Climate collapse means a new ice age, or extreme flooding and storms, or spread of deserts. All of these present grave threats to human life.

What about health? Again, agreement abounds that the lifestyle we enjoy today will result in an overburdening of the health-system and reduction in working efficiency over the next decades.

And our companies and organizations? Less unanimous, but we hear it regularly too, that by 2014 all production will be located in low-cost regions. Thanks to e-business, efficiencies will be reached to create massive unemployment in Europe. And with the rise of oil prices, our intensive consumption of transport for everything from commuting to food distribution will become far more expensive.

So to answer our own question: yes it IS serious, and the challenge is on the developed world to show ways to reduce damage to climate, environment and health and pass these on to developing nations eager to take over our energy- burning life-style.

In other words, rapidly decreasing the release to nature of waste and by-products. As we have no technical method of removing CO2 from emissions, it probably means reducing energy consumption to about a quarter of what it is today.

To achieve this, we need to increase our development to ensure society and economy continue to thrive.

Our experience with these issues tells us that we all need to engage in sustainability in all of the roles we play: as individual members of society, as consumers and in our work.

AVBP is working to develop ways to collaborate, to maximize creativity and finds ways to stimulate development in the sustainable direction. More on the home page (link below).

Watch for more e-briefings. Keep the feedback coming.

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