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Talk It. Live It. Love It…Please

Enough of the talk already.

Isn’t it time to do something? Or maybe it’s time to rethink what we say so we can talk differently about what we need to do.

Jeez…more talk, is that what this is about? Or maybe it’s about the right talk, meaningful talk, the kind of talk that actually leads to change?

Our global footprint

Image source: www.ecolocalizer.com

For more than thirty years our international leaders have been talking their way into supposedly global agreements on the need for action.

Across the world, various models of sustainable development have been proposed as the panacea to our ills. Some twenty-five years ago, Our Common Future proposed a framework to integrate ecological and economic factors in national and international decision-making.

Five years later, the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janiero endorsed Local Agenda 21, a blueprint for transitioning to sustainable development. Twenty years on – in Johannesburg 2002 – the United Nations (UN) World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) reiterated the critical role of civil society in the pursuit of a sustainable future.

Within a few years, the UN General Assembly had declared 2005 to 2014 as the “decade of education for sustainable development”. So what have we learned? What have we done? How is our thinking different, our actions effective, such that we stand a proverbial show in hellfire to transform the systemic root of our troubles?

In Our Common Future (1989), the WCED states that:

Environment and development are not separate challenges. Development cannot subsist on a deteriorating environmental resource base; the environment cannot be protected when growth leaves out of account the costs of environmental destruction. These problems cannot be treated separately by fragmented institutions and policies. They are linked in a complex system of cause and effect.

Wise words…perhaps…except for the fact that Our Common Future later emphasises economic growth and technological innovation as the cure-all to our woes – the most notable being poverty.

What better means to generate the necessary wealth to alleviate poverty than to perpetuate practices that have contributed to it? Hhhm. Seems our esteemed leaders have developed a flawed framework for sustainable development. When you peel back the layers of so many international agreements in this field, we discover systems of thinking that ultimately support the industrial development model – the same system our efforts supposedly seek to transform.

So enough talk already. Perhaps, irrespective of our esteemed leaders, it’s up to the people to reclaim our future, to do what we can to make a difference.

Talk it. Live it. Love it. Somewhere along the line, we might find meaningful agreement afterall.

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