Sustainability Research, Reviews and Signposting
If the challenge of defining sustainable development isn’t enough to spin your head, the cornucopia of its contexts, applications and arenas will – anything and everything from natural resource use and/or conservation, the five types of capital, transport, business, commerce and economics, to the notion that our current path of growth and consumption must be sustained in order to maintain a healthy economy and lift our fellow man out of poverty.
The recent outcome document from the Rio +20 seems to have suggested a misappropriation of epic proportions in the horrible twisting of the concept of sustainable development to a diametrically opposite use. The question is one of correctly identifying the value judgements, terms of value reference and context within which the term is employed.
Only recently in human history has there been a shift from the paradigm of nature for man towards one of coexistence, support and mutual benefit, suggesting a move from the previously linear relationships of take-make-waste towards a cyclical, cradle-to-cradle, relationship of continuous re-use, reduction, re-cycling and sustainable renewables use.
This shift in favour of the cyclical / regenerative / renewable relationship is as significant for the future of our self-knowledge, environmental awareness and civilisational perpetuity as the evolution of Neanderthal to homo sapien. It’s even more significant for the perpetuity almost all other species with which we inhabit this increasingly overcrowded planet.