26 March, 2009
I am sure you’ve wondered how (or whether) the world will ever become sustainable? And I’m sure you’ve wondered what would change the trajectory of today’s civilisation?
There has been so much written and spoken about sustainability, but we seem no closer, and perhaps we are further away than ever. Why are we failing to keep our earth habitable for future generations? What is the real legacy we are leaving?
The path to sustainability is often talked about in global terms – global deals, carbon trading, UN conferences and declarations, policy shifts etc. What is not talked about much is the need for a new consciousness.
Why do we fail to talk about treating each other with love and respect as the foundation of a new society? Why are we scared to talk about our deepest needs? Victor Havel believes that to achieve the fundamental shift in our current direction, we must develop “a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on this Earth.”
Gus Speth, Dean of Yale School of Environmental Studies, has said this about the changes needed:“many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the changes needed to sustain human and natural communities can only be achieved in the context of the rise of a new consciousness.”
There is a real need for a significant cultural change, a change in our worldviews, and a reorientation of what we value. Call this a spiritual awakening, or a new consciousness. If you prefer call it a rethinking of what is really important. (A recent report covers this in great detail – see Towards a New Conscioiusness: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities).
If we treated others with respect, generosity, kindness and fairness, would the world become a better place? You bet!
We certainly won’t get there if our fundamental values don’t change, or if we keep believing in endless growth, corporations, unbridled competition, aggression, excessive individualism and materialism. To build a sustainable world, we need a more mature human society based on nature’s templates, as Bill Plotkin reminds us.
If being green was more than just turning off our lights, but also involved switching on our hearts, we would be on the way to transforming our world and ourselves.