In a world where sustainability is more than just a buzzword, there's a pressing need to address the inconsistencies and challenges in its application. Delving into the transformative initiatives and global efforts, we explore whether humanity can sidestep the looming crises and continue to thrive.
The danger is more than real. The concepts of sustainable development, which are being promoted today by the Earth Charter, the Club of Rome, and the Venus Project, do not inspire peace due to inconsistency, internal inconsistency, and palliatives. The rhetoric of corporations and governments about this most sustainable development, on closer examination, turns out to be 90% replies, a wooden good mine in a criminally bad game. Technologies develop due to the nature of the process. Of course, one would like to rely on them, but all the time one has to remember in whose hands they are, in whose hands they may end up, and how they can be used. So, is there any sense in all these numerous arguments about non-destructive evolution?
After the previous short paragraph, it would be nice to put a peremptory bold point, but let’s not be like those whom we criticize in a friendly way.
It is unlikely that admonishing transnational corporate sharks to be kinder and more solidary or helping to develop small businesses in the poorest countries of Africa and Asia by the current slogan of sustainable development supporters “Think globally, act locally” can save civilization. But, despite a certain inconsistency and utopia of positions, those people and organizations that have constantly been reminding humanity of planetary problems managed to make environmental thinking an intellectual fashion and impose the concept of sustainable development on corporations and governments as an element of formal ethics. Although for many this is a polite empty phrase or an excuse to go at public expense to ring the regalia at an international conference in a beautiful place, someone is imbued, someone believes, someone thinks, and even understands. And having understood, having felt begins to act.
Who would seriously attend to the issue of mining from asteroids and on the Moon, if scientists did not sound the alarm about their imminent drying up on Earth? And now there are already specific projects with funding and clear deadlines. Would someone spend massive amounts of money on the development of alternative ways of obtaining energy, if calculations did not show that oil could run out already this century?
Today, huge solar power plants are being built and are already operating in Australia, China, and the United States. Meanwhile, the Saudis are going to build a whole city of solar installations, and researchers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines are increasingly being used, and developments are underway in the field of productive use of thermonuclear fusion energy. Governments are introducing stringent new environmental standards and are more closely monitoring compliance with them. New food production technologies are emerging that are less resource-intensive, less disruptive to the environment, and produce more sustainable and higher yields.
What about energy efficiency? Many countries have adopted laws and regulations requiring builders and those who operate buildings and structures to implement mandatory energy efficiency measures. Finally, informing about the very existence of a real possibility of irreversible degradation of civilization in the event of inefficient exploitation of the planet encourages many people to unite and look for a way out together.
The rise of environmental organizations
And it’s not just the aforementioned organizations. UNEP, the American Union of Concerned Scientists, the British Soil Association, and thousands of different environmental organizations. Even government organizations specializing in the protection of habitats were created after reports to the Club of Rome, some even more recently. For example, the USSR State Committee for Nature Protection (predecessor of the current Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation) was established in 1988; the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Safety of Nuclear Reactors in 1986; UK Department of Conservation — in 2001; and, say, the Australian Department of the Environment in 2013.
Perhaps, by joint efforts, we will still be able to postpone the resource and food crisis and catastrophic depopulation for a time during which scientists, engineers, and farmers will find a way to overcome it and save humanity as a rational and developing species.
Future Thought Leaders is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of rising Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.