Breaking sustainable development down into topics – housing, energy, farming, etc. – makes the job sound big, but doable. We have the technology (mostly); the vision has been written out often enough. But what we see as good for the future of human civilization we do not necessarily see as good for our individual selves, right now. The wealthy who enjoy it like their carbon-based world, and they do not yet suffer from the carbon they spew out. So we pretend to be negotiating toward a carbon-constrained world; we pretend we are making progress. We just might pretend until it is too late.
Change, if it comes, will originate not through changing our technologies first, but through changing our minds: changing from judging success by ownership, switching from wanting more of everything to wanting the right amount, developing a sense of solidarity with those suffering the brunt of climate change. It is tough enough to dematerialize development; it is tougher to dematerialize our own mindsets. But people who have done it – even those who have tried – have found it liberating, exhilarating and a lot of fun.
Here is our manifesto for a sustainable world. It’s a checklist not to sign up to, but to live up to – and expand on.
Tell us what you’re doing to change your life and act in favour of the future.