Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Uchita de Zoysa at Planet in 2050 Workshop

Sustainable Consumption and Production for Earth in 2050
by Uchita de Zoysa (www.glossolutions.com)

Ever since publishing the ‘Our Common Future’ report from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), the global discussions on challenges facing humans on earth and setting goals for desirable futures has been growing. The ‘Agenda 21’ resulting from the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit on Environment and Development (UNCED), ‘Joint Programme of Implementation’ (JPOI) from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) or the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) shows the human desire to find strategic pathways towards desirable futures.

Similarly, a ‘10 Year Framework of Programmes’ on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP on SCP) in response to the statement by JPOI of WSSD that one of the main challenges on earth is regulating unsustainable consumption and production patterns on earth. Since then the loosely organised Marrakech Process of the UN has not been able to provide collectively agreeable and desirable pathways towards sustainable futures. The ‘Asian Review on Sustainable Consumption’ conducted and written by this author argued that that sustainable consumption needs to be discussed in the interest of half of the world’s population that are in poverty, while addressing the over consumption issues of the developed countries. It emphasised that equity in consumption is a major challenge of the international community that seeks to regulate unsustainable consumption patterns.

Are these global diplomatic efforts making human life of earth desirable? As often argued on the premises of scientific research and well planned strategies at the highest international levels, why has this desirable future become more and more challenging during the past forty years of global sustainability visioning? Depleting natural resources challenges further desertification; continued global warming threatening climate change; failure to eradicate poverty is resulting in aggravated food crisis; the fall of the icon of the free economy, Wall Street, threatens the existence of smaller and dependent enterprises and national economies. These do not leave the world currently with desirable visions of a future.

Desirable futures for humans on earth between years 2030-2050 would be subjective to what the guiding visions for sustainability or right livelihood are. However, the following may find some common ground of desirable futures;
1. Equitable consumption opportunities that enables wellbeing for all
2. Sustained happiness derived through the ensuring of wellbeing for all
3. Sustainable lifestyles in healthy and peaceful environmental conditions

The above desirable futures would require paths to sustainability that could not be merely achieved through the current human development indexes, gross domestic product, transfer of technologies or free market based economic growth systems. Therefore, the following paths to sustainability are proposed to be deliberated for future deep research and development;
1. Creating ‘Sufficiency’ based development paradigms that can further the goals of sustainability from ‘Efficiency’ based development tools
2. Creating ‘Happiness & Wellbeing’ based development criteria against the ‘Growth’ based development criteria
3. Creating ‘Mindfulness’ through ‘HeartMind’ processes to promote right livelihood lifestyle models amongst humanity against individual human development models.