The coming decade: will we learn to live sustainably?

Right. It has been more than two weeks since I posted my thoughts on the coming decade. You can read the extended Swedish version here. And the English summary here. Today I thought I’d further explore the first of five proposed action areas – Stopping the destruction of our planet.

This does sound awfully pretentious, and I’m pretty sure I’ll expose myself to criticism either way I decide to write about it. So here goes.

I’m certainly no environmental expert, or climate expert for that matter. But I can look with my own eyes and I can use my common sense. The ways we humans are pushing the usage of planetary resources is unsustainable, and we must sooner, rather than later, get on to a track of sustainable life on Earth.

This simple conclusion seems to be very difficult for us to grasp.

It seems we don’t have dealing with such a challenge wired into our systems. Sure, there are lots of smart people out there that have written smart stuff that would make sense to adopt in order for us to be more sustainable. But we don’t. Or we do, but extremely slowly. There is no way we are adopting new technologies and lifestyles fast enough to offset the destruction. Add to that the amazing level of population growth we still have.

The pressure on planetary resources is continuing to build, instead of easing off. Some smart folks are speculating if we’ll be passing a tipping point soon. Or if we already have. Some other smart folks are saying there might not be a tipping point – we can carry on as usual.

Me, I say let us use the precautionary principle. Let us not put us in a position where we find out if there is a tipping point or not. Let us ease off and share what we have. Let us also make sure that we use planetary resources in a way that they can replenish. Let us stop using the stuff we know is poisonous. I could go on, but I know you know the drill.

Point is, I’m pretty sure we know how to live sustainably – at a personal level and at a societal level. The biggie is to chose to do so. The biggie is to chose another mental model to live by. And since my professional arena is helping businesses and organizations develop I’d also like to point what perhaps is bleeding obvious – this cuts right to the core of any organization’s raison d’etre! All organizations have to make the transition to sustainability. Period.

This I believe we have to put in place the coming decade. No more. No less.

I once again quote Daniel Quinn who I think has captured our challenge very poignantly:

”Something extraordinary will happen in the next two to three decades; the people of our culture will learn to live sustainably – or not. Either way, it will be extraordinary.”   

With hope for the right kind of extraordinary decade.

//jan

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