The Window of Opportunity is Closing. There are a few short years ahead of us within which we can act to substantially alter or reverse the course of accelerating demographic, environmental, and economic trends that will, within 20 years or so, destabilize our planets biospheric life support system, most likely beyond recovery. After that, effective responses may be possible, but all bets are off.
Reversing Course Hampered by Insufficient Understanding. Reversing course, charting a new direction, and making substantial and sufficient progress in the transition to sustainability is the historic challenge we face. Fortunately, the pace of the sustainability response has quickened, widened, and deepened dramatically in 2008. Unfortunately, the challenge and the required response are still being (mis)understood from the same limited perspective that created the sustainability crisis in the first place, and that misunderstanding is compromising the required response.
Inventing a New Response Capacity. Conservation and mitigation (doing less damage or reducing the pace of damage)--first and second generation environmentalism--are no longer sufficient responses. They are part of the problem because they masquerade as solutions. To paraphrase Einstein, the same perspective that created a problem cannot be used to solve the problem. So, the first problem becomes, generating the new, more powerful, accurate, and effective framework of understanding and action.
The Problem is the Economy, NOT the Environment. The source of the accelerating collapse of the world environmental system (natural capital infrastructure and services) is the cumulative effect of the growing population in combination with standards of living, current economic processes, and efficiency. Sustainability is about stabilizing the human population and creating a human economy whose every effect enhances the ecological integrity of nature's economy--the basis for human economic wealth (life support capacity), and moreover, that discovers and uses the principles of nature's economy to create an ecologically sustainable economy that is more durable, has more economic security, and more prosperous than our present increasingly resource-scarce, carbon-based economy.
Watershed 2009--Sustainability as the New Engine of a New Economy. With the renewal of the next-generation Kyoto Protocol to address global warming (the front line of the sustainability crisis) in Copenhagen, 2009 portends to be a potential watershed year for sustainability. However, the potential will not be reached without breakthroughs in understanding that global warming is not fundamentally an environmental problem, but an economic problem. Concomitantly, the solutions must remedy the economic sources of global warming and create a more prosperous economy in the process. Doing so could begin to resolve the financial crisis, global warming, and the sustainability crisis simultaneously. This is one of our challenges in 2009.
A Whole-Systems Critical-Path Response? Forging the new perspective and capacity that can lead to an accurate understanding of the sustainability challenge and required response is the first step in beginning to resolve the sustainability crisis. To that end, Sustainability 2030 is looking forward to accelerating its whole systems and critical path work program in 2009, invites you to engage and advance the transition to sustainability within your sphere of action, and wishes you the best in your efforts.
Highlights of new year's initiatives include the following:
- World Watch's Two-Year Initiative combined with their State of the World 2009 "Into a Warming World:" http://www.worldwatch.org/programs.
- Union of Concerned Scientists s focused on Restoring Integrity to Federal Science.
- Obama's Scientific Dream Team will turn things around: "John Holdren, Jane Lubchenco and Steven Chu are, by any measure, a science dream team for the new administration," said Peter Frumhoff, UCS director of science and policy. "They all are among the top in their fields and understand the critical role that science must play in informing policy decisions." See AAAS 2007 Plenary Address and Bio. for Holdren's summary of the sustainability challenge and his expertise.
- Under the leadership of Frances Beinecke, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)has launched a new strategic campaign that sharply focuses NRDC's efforts on curbing global warming, moving America beyond oil, saving wild places…Read More
- Al Gore's continuing efforts: http://www.algore.com/, climate and security,