ONEPLANET Sustainability Review

Sustainability Research, Reviews and Signposting

Challenges, what challenges? Where’s the remote…

Yes sir, but can we switch off the tube for a minute please, sir? Can we sit and think for a few minutes maybe? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on the critical issues affecting us all, instead of business as usual? What are the really important sustainability issues today?

Well, as a starter for ten, anyone’s list of the biggest, most important challenges will surely include (in no particular order):

– Communication and Education for resilience, conservation, restoration, durability… all those things that have real traction, definition, meaning, beyond the now almost hollow, totally overused, misunderstood and increasingly meaningless idea of ‘sustainability’.

– Addressing our untenable lifestyles, our waste and consumption, in terms of Resource, Material, Energy, and most importantly, Meaning.

– Developing/promoting/implementing Economic and Business operations based on 1) prosperity and shared wealth, not limitless growth and profit, 2) restorative, regenerative, sustainable use of all resources, particularly energy and natural resource, 3) business models that incorporate the true, full-lifecycle environmental cost within the product or service price.

– Resolving the disparity between wealthy and poor, alleviating suffering of the masses. Not just in physical and monetary wealth, but specifically in terms of sustenance, shelter, safety/security, education, technology, social society and it’s institutions, positive life experiences and meaning.

– Developing nations sustainably, holding developed nations accountable for unsustainable actions and their pollution, sustaining a universal prosperity versus unlimited and unbalanced growth.

– Remaining within Planetary Boundaries, preventing their transgression, creating conditions for their conservation and restoration.


Flaring off. Kuwait Oil Company.


Favelas and ‘home-made’ electricity. A.C.E Dent.

In Paul Hawken’s words, “What are the obstacles preventing us from doing the right thing? What can we do to change or remove those barriers?” Some initial thoughts for a start:

– Weak, ineffective and insufficient legislation and enforcement within the urgent timescales necessary to promote and maintain resilience, conservation, restoration, durability… Resolving the political mechanism behind this issue: weak and ineffective government.

– Poor communication, lack of understanding, lack of interest. In the issues, the timescale, relevance, importance, of the individual’s impact, of the available alternatives, of ones own responsibilities and their interrelationships. The ‘what, where, when, why and how’. The ‘we’ is just the starting point.

– Lack of economically/financially viable alternatives and solutions for both the average Joe and those billion humans with insufficient basic amenity

So, sir, if you can, sir please put down the remote, turn off our computers, and act; act in favour of a positive, equitable, just and interlinked system of nature and humanity.


Above image, HEAP – Hutan environmental awareness program at local schools, courtesy of TheShiningHopeFoundation.

One comment on “Challenges, what challenges? Where’s the remote…

  1. Pingback: Economic Growth and Prosperity are Not the Same Thing « ONEPLANET Sustainability Review

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Part of the Problem? or Part of the Solution?

Rampant consumerism.
Widespread unsustainable lifestyles.
Unsustainable business practices.
Damaging and unsustainable travel and transport.
Extensive environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
These are some of the problems we face.
Energy crisis.
Financial crisis.
Uneducated and un-empowered.
Environmental damage.
Food and water shortage.
Climate change.
Are you part of the problem,
Or are you part of the solution?

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