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Sunday, 19 January 2014

More about the Meaning of Sustainability

Following on from my previous two blogs, both of which dealt with sustainability, a central concept that I have not yet mentioned is the one that states that we should not do today, that which leaves for future generations an unwanted legacy. It is a fundamental principle which is rarely to be found in those things one sees presented as being sustainable.

In the case of the Scottish Farmed Salmon industry (the subject of my previous blog entry) and their counterparts in other parts of the world, the extinction of wild salmon would be such an unwanted legacy. But honestly, do you really think that when confronted with the issue of economic development and the expansion and growth of the farmed salmon industry and the extinction of wild salmon, the wild fish stand any chance? Another example of an unsustainable activity is what is called fracking (the extraction of shale gas). It is unsustainable because we as a society have already taken more than our fair share of oil and natural gas deposits and taking the shale gas is robbing future generations of what rightly belongs to them. This they will not thank us for – another unwanted legacy. But honestly, do you really think that when confronted with the issue of economic development and the expansion and growth of the oil and gas industry and the matter leaving deposits for future generations, our children’s children stand any chance?

I believe, based on observations of what has happened over the past few decades, that all we are going to witness in the future is a lot of talk about sustainability, but no substantial actions to deal with what is at the core of the problem - us and our collective delusion that we can go one doing that which we do now, and that only minor changes are needed to become sustainable. It is now evident that governments, and most politicians and businesses, have no intention of dealing with this issue in a way that correctly represents the enormous dimension of the challenge that we now face. Therefore, we the people must now act, peacefully, to bring about a massive transformation. This is why we need to use our wallets, lifestyle choices and our votes, to apply the pressure that will change the climate of thought. It is time to build a new civilisation and to begin the gradual transition away from our present one, and to do that one must simultaneously start to disengage from the old and build the new. An interestingly this is already happening, because people are beginning to understand that if they do not act, then there will be no change, for the establishment has no intention of acting, and politicians are starting to become worried about this quiet revolution, for it involves people turning away from existing institutions and processes. The reasons for this are clear – these are failing and becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Now the scene is set for what will follow in my blogs over the course of 2014.

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