I recently stumbled upon an article written by Jagdish Gandhi, in which he brings the never-ending and at times all-to narrowly focused discussion about the need for sustainability to the point – in a simple sentence:
A sustainable global system is not an option, it is the requirement if we are to survive as a species.
Despite all the problems and crises we currently face – and the unfulfilled pledges by governments all over the planet to seriously engage in developing a peaceful, sustainable world, the now 75 years old education scholar, practicioner and visionary sees great opportunities in the ruptures ahead. As he puts it, “Today, we have the knowledge and resources to create a peaceful and vibrant world.”
However, he readily acknowledges that the required changes are enormous – but also inevitable, as “a sustainable global system is not an option, it is the requirement if we are to survive as a species.” First of all, he argues, we need to “change our global system because the present system itself is the problem. A system designed to promote endless growth through mindless consumption is like a cancer that will ultimately consume humanity. If the present trends continue, growing shortages of water, food and energy will collapse the global economy. We need a systemic transformation because a consumer society cannot evolve into a conserver society without structural change.”
Maybe it is due to Jagdish’s tireless work with children that he hasn’t lost hope in our capability to make those changes and find terms on which not only to sustain life but also to increase people’s feelings of satisfaction and happiness. The consumer-culture might have gone by then. In a way, this shouldn’t surprise or scare us, as wide-ranging lifestyle changes have happened many times before. Just which generation will be ‘the one’ referred to by later historians as the turning point, the change makers – that remains to be seen.
Picture credit: Yorick_R