Speed of change: how can we move fast enough?
Big change takes a long time
As Jonathan Porritt observes, even with the beginnings of modern-day Corporate Social Responsibility stretching back into the 19th century, it’s taken 50 years of concerted pressure, advocacy, research and strategy to get sustainable development into the mainstream of business strategy and planning.
But have we got a long time?
Taking a global perspective on marine fisheries and charting the development of the Marine Stewardship Council, Rupert Howes explains that several large fisheries appear already to have been wiped out. 2048 for the end of commercial fishing?
In his perspective on water, Dominic Waughray points out that global demand for food is set to increase by 70% by 2030, but that we already use 70% of freshwater on agriculture. He gives us 10 years to act.
Often we have the tools and the know-how, but the wrong underlying culture
In her perspective on Education, Jane Wilkinson explains that we have good theory, good practices, good training for doing sustainability education well, but the pace of change in using these assets is just too slow. And it’s not going to get faster until sustainability is incorporated into the heart of education – systemic change is required.
Taking a look at the historical relationship between humanity and nature, Andy Dobson asserts that, fundamentally, for as long as humans see themselves as the centre of life on earth, they will not be able to keep that life going. We need a cultural revolution to de-center human beings.
And changing underlying cultures can require radical steps
In her perspective on Democracy and sustainable development, Halina Ward asks how democratic governments will ever be able make the long-term policy changes needed for sustainability if the short-term consequences for voters mean they get voted out of office. Do the rules of democracy have to be changed? Or bypassed?