Pursuing reform within the system can help, but what is now desperately needed is transformative change in the system itself. To deal successfully with all the challenges America now faces, we must therefore complement reform with at least equal efforts aimed at transformative change to create a new operating system that routinely delivers good results for people and planet.
At the core of this new operating system must be a sustaining economy based on new economic thinking and driven forward by a new politics. The purpose and goal of a sustaining economy is to provide broadly shared prosperity that meets human needs while preserving the earth’s ecological integrity and resilience—in short, a flourishing people and a flourishing nature.
That is the paradigm shift we must now seek.
In 1992 world leaders signed up to something called “sustainability”. Few of them were clear about what it meant; I suspect that many of them had no idea. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: “sustainable development”. Then it made a short jump to another term: “sustainable growth”.
And now, in the 2012 Earth Summit text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into “sustained growth”.
This term crops up 16 times in the document, where it is used interchangeably with sustainability and sustainable development.
But if sustainability means anything, it is surely the opposite of sustained growth. Sustained growth on a finite planet is the essence of unsustainability.
Among veteran environmental advocates, the word “Rio” calls to mind the promise of global cooperation and the peril of broken promises.
The historic 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, known as the Earth Summit, brought together the nations, corporations, and peoples of the world to forge a “Common Future” under the banner of sustainable development.
Now, twenty years later, the governments and peoples of the world are meeting in Rio again, not to evaluate the success of that plan, but, in essence, to assess the damage, and, in principle, to plot a new way forward.
There are signs of a new, alternative economy building around us, such as the growth of local currencies like the Totnes or Bristol Pound, community skill-sharing projects or time-banking networks, and businesses that are reinvesting their profits in ways that benefit local people.
The same is happening in many countries, with progressive groups around the world working to build a more sustainable economy from the ground up.
UK thinktank the New Economics Foundation (nef), along with a group of partners, has created an interactive online map where these initiatives can be shared to provide inspiration to others and give a clearer global picture of how a new economy is unfolding.
“The only reasonable response, it seems to me, is to act as if survival is possible, and to build resilience throughout society as quickly as can be, acting locally wherever there are individuals or groups with the understanding and wherewithal. We must assume that a satisfactory, sustainable way of life is achievable in the absence of fossil fuels and conventional economic growth, and go about building it.
This will be the focus of my work from now on—and it is likely to be the work of the next few generations as well. Call it Transition, call it cultural survival and renewal, call it what you will, it is the only game in town for the foreseeable future.”
TEDxCanberra - Nick Ritar - A challenge to live sustainably (by TEDxTalks)
Reblogged from Inform, learn and act..
From TED Talks:
Human growth has strained the Earth’s resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine “planetary boundaries” that can guide us in protecting our planet’s many overlapping ecosystems.
Reblogged from planted city.
Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting For Rio+20 releases Women’s Major Group Statement
We, the Women’s Major Group representatives at the Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for Rio+20 call on governments to reaffirm their commitments to Agenda 21 and the Beijing Platform for Action, and fulfill their obligations to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
On the road to Rio+20, we invoke the principles enshrined in these instruments – especially non-discrimination and substantive equality and their linkages to gender, economic and ecological justice. We assert the need for a radical change in mindset necessary to steer humanity off the course of repeated crises and self-destruction. To this end, we make the following six points…