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The fact that sustainable progress is not a democratic choice nor a transformative process was a true revelation to me these days. It is an act of taking responsibility. If I take responsibility I can ask others to so too, even institutionally. And if they do not take responsibility I can ask them to justify their reasons and even ask justice to speak out. Wow! Will the near future look like that?
I came to that revelation while wrapping up my new booklet on “the new society” with my conclusions. My model takes a complex issue (a human value s.a. health) in a region and asks business, government, science and the civil community to take responsibility together. Purpose driven, multi-disciplinary ventures appear s.a. AiREAS or STIR (initiatives that I started myself). Today I am still relying on the voluntary choice of an institution to participate despite the value driven purpose.
“Sustainocracy” defines the new model for society. The word is a fusion between Sustainable Progress and Democracy.
Sustainable Progress is in my view not a democratic choice but an imperative mission of humankind. The imposition on all of us to work together on a healthy, vital and safe human community seems very logical to me. New leadership in this new society is represented by someone who takes the initiative to create new age purpose driven venture based on that moral imposition. Why would a single person take such complex initiative? Because no one else can, not institutionally anyway, because of the way economics works.
My own awareness came when I was challenged to make an instant decision of human value. The safety of my children or my money driven career? There was no middle way. For me it was no choice, I was given no transition time, I had to make up my mind instantly. My decision was to bring my children into safety. What else? Would I at that instant be at ease with myself if I had made the other choice? Once a person is aware the decision is not a choice anymore, nor a process. It become an instant change of mindset, taking responsibility at once. After that moment, the consequences are huge because the process of no return starts when the new responsibilities need to establish and organize themselves in one’s life while letting go the old securities and way of life. But there is no way back. The new mindset was instant, the decision made and the consequences are logical and permanent.
This is key. When someone who is aware and has taken responsibility for sustainable progress and subsequently takes a seat on that line of sustainable progress in my model, starting to invite government, business authorities, scientific institutions and civil individuals to join him and take responsibility too for a complex local issue around human health, vitality or safety, can any such authority decline their participation? On what grounds?
In my own experience so far the institutional excuses have been as varied as:
- Not our main priority
- No people, time or money available
- If you have no budget we are not interested
- Don’t how to contribute
- Not taxable so we cannot support them
- My shareholders won’t let me
It is amazing that in the fragmented, consequence driven, money dependent organizations, the corporate interests have no connection at all to sustainable issues. Else there would be no issue to join the venture, would there? They would be honored, but they are not. Amazing! And even more appalling is the fact that this attitude is considered normal and legally supported. Right now our common focus is on the economies of growth without any interest or even awareness of the consequences of such mentality. Even the genuine invitation of participating with corporate talent and authority in value driven ventures is treated with apprehensive policy choices.
Sustainocracy is dictatorial from a perspective of a common human goal, and democratic in how to achieve it. Democracy by itself is inclined to sum up the self-interest up to a point of self-destruction (Club of Rome warns for this already from the 70s). It is necessary that we accept the greedy nature of humankind but also acknowledge the wisdom that sustainable progress is mandatory, not by human choice but by universal logic. A simple modification in our global systems of justice, defining that all institutional hierarchies should commit to sustainable progress by taking responsibility, could help reform instantly our global wellness expectations. This is of course wishful thinking at this stage, however while precedence with the new model grows the pressure on institutions to take responsibility will grow too.
Important for everyone to know is that sustainable progress can be instantly accepted everywhere in the world. It is now not a political choice anymore, nor a transition process that takes many years. It is a simple moment of instant truth in which we take responsibility or not. This decision is not made through voluntary choice but instant awareness, an act of consciousness that opens up our eyes to universal truth. When this occurs individually the consequences are personal and demanding. But can we expect this responsibility and awareness from our institutions? Yes, of course we can. They are not more than instrumental to human progress. We can demand from them to be constructive and not destructive.
There is not one single reason that would justify the lack of our participation, individually or institutionally, in human health, vitality and security improving missions defined by sustainable progress. It is up to ourselves to open up our eyes, take responsibility and expect others to do so too.
The current and most widely used definition for sustainable development dates from 1987 (Brundtland) and is totally useless for sustainable progress. It says:
“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This statement is not sustainable itself as it cannot pinpoint individual responsibility to anyone or current generations let alone future generations. Consider for instance what the definition of needs is of today? Needs of who? The material wealthy or the poor in Africa or Asia? Your needs? My needs? Do they refer to the needs of business or political economies, luxury or primary needs? Business needs maybe?
How about the needs of future generations? How would we know what these future generations will need? They might for all we know require massive amounts of oil for medical purposes, yet we burn it all up right now. How can we take responsibility for the abilities of future generations if they are not just dependent on our left overs but also on important other variables that have nothing to do with human behavior, s.a. climat changes for instance. Do we blame the human who killed the last Dodo because he was hungry? Or do we blame ourselves for not creating responsible alternatives for nutrician before the Dodos were made extinct in the first place. How many species have to perrish before we take responsibility for the current generation?
In fact, who would control what we use, how we use it and determine if it affects future generations at all? Is this control our individual responsibility? How can we measure this? Who is to blame if we judge incorrectly and who judges? And how can I worry about compromising future generations if we already compromise current generation around our globe? In fact, this most popular definition is a open letter that allows us and anyone to do what we please without taking any responsibility. As it stands it has been insignificant since the definition appeared and introduced a green washing wisdom in industrial and government policies around the world. It may have made us a little more aware but certainly not more sustainable in development or progress, on the contrary, and not at all responsible towards future generations as we wouldn’t know how. And really, who in command cares?
In my own foundation we work on the development of workable cooperative organizations around projects that address sustainable progress of humanity itself, segmented into key issues. Interestingly we could do absolutely nothing with the definition. We found it perfectly viable to introduce some basic environment awareness in capitalist industries but totally useless when projected onto the complexity of current humanity itself.
This motivated me to come up with one of my own, just like probably hundreds of other responsible people around me over the years. My definition for sustainable progress is:
“Sustainable progress is the development that continuously improves human health, vitality, safety and dynamic progression in optimal relationship with the constantly changing environment in which we live and act.”
I found that this definition places the responsibility with each and everyone of us, as individuals as well as business and public entities, in the here and now. It became the basis of the cooperative innovative business identities that are being developped by us around real issues that concern us today, s.a. energy, quality of life, education, smart mobility, air quality and polution, food, water, etc…
The definition helps us to define our visions away from material goals and determine specific higher purposes that matter and have a positive effect on our selves, our current generations and our environment. We feel it contributes to true sustainable progress in a measurable and accountable way with the satisfaction that whatever we do in this context it will always serve also generations to come.