It has been a while since I wrote, I was getting connected with Mother Nature and became passionate environmentalist meanwhile :) 2010 has been an incredible journey so far and I will share my experiences some other time.
In this post I want to reflect on our "human" behavior and the need of change that is evolving, as we continue to exercise our lifestyle. This post is inspired from an excellent book I read during my holidays in Croatia. "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" is an international bestseller written from Thomas Friedman, providing a holistic overview to the world issues focusing on achieving environmental sustainability.
Women love shopping! Men want "big" stuff!
We live in a consumption-based society where growth is driven by demand. The Government always pushes "economic growth" agenda, the companies are trying to convince us that we need their products, the media is constantly showing the fabulous lives of people that own a lot and have everything - from big houses, fast expensive cars, latest fashion brand clothes to exotic yacht parties. And what happens with us, the ordinary people? All this society forces create a mental picture of a lifestyle where we desire more and more of all kinds of "things" that we believe will make us happy.
The demand is here alright and with the over-population trend will definitely stay, but what happens with the supply side? Can Mother Earth provide all the natural resources needed for production of all those "things" we need? Are we are aware of the price we pay with our current demand-supply mindset?
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, first produced by the United Nations in 2005 with scientific analysis by 1,300 experts assessed the consequences of ecosystem-change for human well-being. The report concluded that the ability of the earth’s ecosystem to absorb human impacts is rapidly diminishing. Human activity is putting such strains on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s Ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.
The World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet 2008 report concluded that we were already operating 25 percent above the planet’s biological capacity to support life.
The Australian Paul Gilding, a former head of Greenpeace put it this way: We have been taking “a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder. No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply. And those laws are telling us that we, as a species, cannot continue on the growth path we are on. We need a new normal – one that is much more sustainable and healthy for the Market and Mother Nature."
Indeed, our "normal" has become too excessive and unsustainable. We have undermined the environment and its capacity to support the demanded economic growth. We have underpriced the true costs and the risk of what we were doing, we got used on "I'll be gone" behavior (when the bill comes due) and we have socialized the losses for private individuals to gain profits - argues Thomas Friedman in his book.
We definitely need to adopt a different, more sustainable mindset, if we want to survive as human species on Planet Earth. We owe this to the future generations. I like the quote: “Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy”.
We all need to make money and afford all the things we believe will makes us happy, and we need to do that according the laws and structures of the society, but we should all become aware that the ENVIRONMENT is inevitable part of this growth circle. We all need to adopt the mindset of sustainable development because it provides a framework for humans to live and prosper in harmony with nature rather than... at nature's expense.
Ultimately, it comes down to the values that are shaping our behaviors, and when it comes to developing sustainable values it comes down to: integrity, transparency, honesty and shared responsibility.
"Sustainability" as a value is the opposite of "I'll be gone" mindset. Instead it says that I will behave as if I will always be here and always be held accountable for what took place when I was there.
I have clearly understood that finding personal meaning in life is finding an area that is connected to something larger then just yourself. What can be larger then devoting your life into making sure that your children and future generations have the same right of freedom and pursue of happiness as we have in our time?
Change is needed and it starts with the individual. I will finish this post with one of my favorite African quotes: "If you want to go quickly go alone, if you want to go far go together".
Let's go together...