Creating a Sustainable Future

By the time this comes out I should be in the wilds of Central Otago or Dunedin. One of the joys of being online is that you can remote link from almost anywhere. (The local internet guy has gone whitebait fishing! so access is somewhat limited though.)

It is school holidays again and time to visit family and recharge the batteries 1000km to the South. It is also a great time to catch up on the reading.

These quotes from The Necessary Revolution: Creating a Sustainable Future by Peter Senge and Bryan Smith (download the summary PDF here.) caught my eye. Plenty to think about.

“The Industrial Era is ending.

Its extraordinary successes–advances in literacy, life expectancy, human rights, and technology–have propelled us headlong into a myriad of side effects: food and water shortages, cyclonic destruction, prolonged drought and rising sea levels.

To delay acknowledging the need for lifestyle and business changes–‘The Necessary Revolution’–risks our very survival.

What only a couple of decades ago was still a vigorous scientific debate has become as close to a consensus as scientific communities ever achieve: human-induced climate change from greenhouse gases concentrating in the atmosphere has reached a threshold of significant social and economic impact–and we are only now at the start of experiencing the effects.

Stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide will require a profound reversal: a 60-80% reduction in growing worldwide emissions in the next twenty years.

This is the ’80-20 Challenge,’ and this manifesto presents inspiring, real-life examples of how this is starting to happen.”….

“No one had a master plan for the Industrial Revolution; no ministry was put in charge; no single business led the way. Rather, countless acts of initiative and daring created a critical mass of unstoppable changes. So it must be with the next epoch.

What would an economy look like that, in Buckminster Fuller’s words, operated entirely on “our energy income rather than our energy capital?” Or that generated no waste, where “all waste equals food for another system,” as green designers William McDonough and Michael Braungart put it?

Or one in which Marshall McLuhan’s image of the “global village” was not merely a clever metaphor, but part of our conscious understanding of a world of ever greater interdependence—where none of us is secure if all of us are not secure?

But there are two big differences from earlier times of profound change:

  • Today, these changes are happening around the world, as new ideas and innovation spread rapidly from one place and one system to another.
  • Nature has provided us with a time clock in the form of rising levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Thanks to ChangeThis for making them available. Feel free to download the 23 page Creative Commons based PDF to review this discussion and see where you might join the debate / do your bit.

In New Zealand you might like to check out the Sustainable Business Network.

Over to you?

Update: Andy Lark added a diagram from the bookover here