25 years ago the Brundtland Commission) spent nearly 3 years taking a long, hard look at the future, and their final words were unambiguous:
“To keep options open for future generations, the present generation must begin now, and begin together, nationally and internationally…. The Commissioners came from 21 very different nations. In our discussions, we disagreed often on details and priorities. But despite our widely differing backgrounds and varying national and international responsibilities, we were able to agree to the lines along which institutional change must be drawn.
We are unanimous in our conviction that the security, well-being, and very survival of the planet depend on such changes, now.”
Since then we have had major changes:
- The Berlin wall was torn down leading to the end of the Soviet Union, Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa and America elected an African American president which means we can make substantial political and institutional change.
- America used a massive force to invade Iraq in order to depose a dictator because they believed he posed a threat to the safety of the US population; that which tells me that we have the ability to take rapid and decisive action to protect people from danger.
- The internet has become damn near ubiquitous which means virtually all the knowledge in the world is instantly available to anyone which means we have access to the information and ideas we need to make the necessary changes.
- Between July 15 2012 and November 24th over 800 million people watched Gangnam style on You Tube which means we can share information with vast numbers of people very quickly.
- On October 21st, a flash mob of 20,000 people performed Gangnam Style in Milan and on October 24th the same thing happened in Paris which shows we can mobilise huge numbers of people to take action (even if that action is a strange dance).
- Since 1990 the global economy has grown more than it did during the 10,000 years from the beginning of agriculture to 1950 which shows we can afford to make the changes.
We have no excuses because these things show that we can change the world; all we need is for somebody to do something, now. There’s no point in waiting for our political leaders because they haven’t done anything meaningful in 25 years, industry has just made things worse by sticking to failing business paradigms and even the armed services are too busy trying to stop their personnel from leaving to stage a military coup. So that pretty much leaves it up to you and I to do something.
Which is a big relief because it’s people like you and I who marched against apartheid in 1981, sailed dinghies in front of nuclear war ships and even pulled down the Berlin Wall in 1989. It seems that whenever major change is called for, it’s the ordinary people like you and I who do it: not the political leaders, the generals, the priests or even the teachers. The security, well-being, and very survival of the planet depends on you and I doing something now because nobody else is going to.
About the only thing a fat old biker such as myself can change on his own is oil, so I got together with a few equally ordinary people and we came up with the idea of the Canterbury Sustainable Business Forum . We have all come to the conclusion that it’s too late to wait for Someone Else To Do Something, so have got together to be that someone. Individually we have the same limitations as everyone else does, but together we have all we need to overcome our individual weaknesses and flaws which means we can change the world.
Are you in?