Self-sufficient sustainability

May 6th, 2006

Yesterday, Dennis L. Meadows gave a wonderful talk about limits to growth. In order to illustrate what we know about sustainability he told a little story.
At a panel on agriculture of a recent global conference on sustainable development were 2 Swedish experts. So, he asked one of them whether sustainable development means that Sweden should become self-sufficient in food production. The expert said: Absolutely, yes. Meadows then moved on to the second expert and asked the same question. This expert answered: Absolutely no.

Think globally, act locally

March 7th, 2006

In a recent discussion about Sustainability and Global Change a student asked a few renowned scientists what we can do if the current unsustainable development may not be stopped or reversed in time. After a bit of discussion the researchers came to the conclusion: Think globally, act locally.

No, I am not criticizing it (I am just lying). I wonder what it means. I am asking what those who dare to answer with this slogan want to say. More so, what do they say? What is it they are demonstrating?

Who were the ones that explained us that global thinking tends to fail miserably? At least, a good number of ecological catastrophes serves as endorsement.

What does thinking globally mean anyway? Is there a global thinking without acting? Is the act of thinking globally a local act?
Whether globally or locally we act and we think in networks of causes and effects. Are local networks less complex than global networks? If so, at what level of complexity may we stop? What is the opposite? If I am to act locally how do I know what is local and what is global? What does acting globally mean? Who decides? And is this decision an act? A local one?

What about recommendations, rules, laws, and limits? Are they global or local? In which contexts do they operate? Who is held responsible?

Of course, I am responsible for my local actions, am I not? Who is responsible for my global thinking? Me, too. That’s what we think. So, why are there laws? What does it mean that I do act in contexts of habits, traditions, ethics, and for instance European laws?

And how comes my actions are bound by the fact that an American company does not care about how their computers are produced by a company in Taiwan both of which my local dealer can’t get hold of even though it entirely broke down yesterday only 3 months after I bought it?

Do you know what the answer is? — Think globally, act locally! And the other way round.

Agreement and diversity

February 28th, 2006

Those calling for agreement can’t accept intolerance.
Those calling for diversity won’t find much approval.

This is nothing new. These ideas date back to ancient times. They build ground for disadvantages as well as advantages of democracy. They apply to Sustainable Development as they do to liars’ blogs. I have only chosen words, words like placeholders, showing that the key notions of the quest for sustainability are bound by the same terms.

Of course, this is its very chance.

More of the same?

Those calling for agreement will struggle with diversity.
Those calling for diversity won’t find much agreement.
Those calling for consensus can’t accept intolerance.
Those calling for tolerance are afraid of self assurance.
Those calling for democracy can’t live with unity.
Those calling for change will fear conservation.

Those calling for tolerance cannot accept intolerance.
Those calling for freedom compete with freedom.