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balanced between economic, environmental and social; balanced among regions around the world; balanced between material and spiritual… (P.S. just like how you manage your health)

Imbalance is unsustainable.


I notice that many people confuse between environmental protection and sustainability (or my definition of sustainable development). They thought sustainability is about protecting the earth, nature, animals and plants, biodiversity, recycling, air pollution (or other kind of pollutions) or just about global warming.

This is a huge misunderstanding! Sustainability is centered on human. It is concern about the sustainablity of current human civilization, about how human can live with our environment (earth) sustainably.

The problem with environmental protection is it just try to address the symptoms. It treats environment (nature) as a seperate entity, so when the problem in that area pop up, go and fix it in a quick way. The problem with this fragmental approach of problem solving is, without researching and addressing the root structure that gave rise to the problem, the problem is likely not to go away (reappear later or in other place), possibly grow bigger, and the worst case is our previous quick fix created another problem!

So why we worry about sustainablity? It is because we have observed many unsustainable signs and the list is growing rapidly. They can be well-explained by a logically consistent root structure, called Limits to Growth. In this structure, pollution, natural resource, food, economic production and populution are interconnected. In fact, sustainablity views nature, climate, energy, food, water, natural resources, waste, population, economic production, social needs, values, democracy, peace are all interrelated. Each of our daily activities (how you use energy, how you eat, etc.) affects the prospect of sustainability, although the link is not obvious immediately.

Sustainability is not just environment matter. It is about how we live.

Some talks by Dennis Meadows.

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Here is my ideas to this question How can Limits to Growth’s policies be implemented?:

Persistently bring Limits to Growth within sight at every opportunity, debate it, stand by it, clarify it, explain it, deepen the analysis, couple with the latest development…

Recognize that it takes years for people to digest and accept the Limits to Growth, it is a long term fight. We should not be afraid of telling people that we need to willingly accept a significant reduction in our consumption and birth rate. We need spokespeople who are fearless, persistant, honest and articulate well. Think of Thomas Henry Huxley.

Time will tell.

Only one set of policies able to produce sustainable scenario in Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update:

  1. stable population – this requires all couples decide to limit their family size, AND
  2. stable industrial output per person – if the wealthiers say “enough” and willing to share their wealth with impoverished people so that the total industrial output can be stabilized while no one is impoverished (otherwise people will riot), AND
  3. technology advance to improve pollution abatement effectiveness, best sustainable agricultural practise and resource consumption efficiency.

Now the challenge is: How can we implement this set of policies in advance before the effects of overshoot take place (“too late”)?

This is the most challenging question, but if we can find out a way to answer it, we will be the first generation in the human history that able to control our future.

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