Developing Vision For a Better Environment and Future Quality of Life
by James Smith and Robert Halford
What Is Sustainable Development? Our modern way of life spells
trouble for the human race as we continue to consume and pollute more than the
planet can withstand.
Almost every day there is another report about some new environmental crisis,
species facing extinction or the next pollution disaster. It is a fact that
there is a downward spiral in the state of the natural environment, and there
is an increasing awareness of this. For example it is now accepted by scientists
and governments that global warming and climate change is happening, something
that green organisations have been telling us about for a long time. Some severe
failures in the environment are now happening with unstable and disturbed weather
patterns, storms and flooding.
Part of the reason for this is that the natural relationship between the planet
and the human has broken down. This is apparent in the wealthy Western nations,
where we have become accustomed to expect more and more from our "quality
of life" with little regard to the real cost of our lifestyle and to the
destruction of the planet that supports us all. Western nations now command
most of the planets rapidly diminishing natural resources to support their
way of life, but the fact is that our way of life in the developed
countries is unsustainable. We take from the planet and deposit our waste upon,
in and around it, without regard.
Sustainable Development is about finding new ways of living which respects
and does not destroy our host, the planet, and all life upon it. It is a now
issue. We cannot continue in the way that we have done so far. It is a perilous
situation and if there is to be any change we need to rethink how to live in
the future, which is a challenge and a hope.
How does Sustainable Development Work?
Many people are genuinely concerned about this and want to do something about
it - but what can be done? Science is not able to offer integrated credible
solutions, governments cannot agree on concerted action, some have attempted
to turn back the clock, but this is not a realistic option either, as the "genie
is out of the bottle" and we cannot undo much of what we have built.
needs pioneers and leaders, who can approach the multitude of seemingly impossible
problems of how to do this.
We can begin by rediscovering our values for the planet and developing a real
appreciation of what it represents. Building value and having a reasoned appreciation
of the planet will cause a change in the way we make decisions. This is not
an academic study, it is about planting firmly what is real and of value in
People Are The Key
Increasingly governments and multi-national organisations are acknowledging
the importance of sustainable development and each one of us can take a part
and responsibility in the attempt to chart an alternative future where we do
not destroy the earth, but improve and conserve our world and have something
to hand on into the care of our children.
At core we all make decisions based on our value systems and what we believe
to be reasonable, yet in todays world we are taught very little about
the workings of the planet. Often individuals are placed in a position where
they have to make or accept decisions which will have far-reaching effects on
our environment, yet with little real appreciation of the consequences of these
decisions. The first tasking in sustainable development is to rediscover and
naturalise ourselves to real human values that are aligned to the intricate,
infinitely complex and integrated natural worlds that support us. Then to redress
what we have done to diminish our collective view of the importance of the planet
for all forms of organic life and as a part of a universal system.
We are pioneering this approach through our daily consultancy work (Enviro Management).
Our aim is to develop a centre of excellence for sustainable development, to
provide leadership and the power of persuasion to help make the necessary changes
we know must happen if we are to provide a sustainable future for those yet
to come. In our drive to establish this new project we have become more and
more widely known with requests for help from UK Councils in putting together
strategic plans for a sustainable future. We are also working with various other
governmental organisations on sustainable development. Our mission is to be
influential and to spark a sea change in the steps towards a new future. After
all, if our generation does not choose to do something, then who will?
James Smith and Robert Halford have 40 years professional experience
in consultancy within the environmental fields. Their work involves establishing
a principled approach in addressing some of the pressing environmental issues
facing the world.