Submission to United Nations Consultation on Environmental Sustainability. See the consultation report and add your thoughts at http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/360463 The link to my comment on the UN site.
I applaud the hard work, sincerity and admirable values reflected in every word of this report. Furthermore I challenge the UN and civil society to observe that this report does not really stand out among numerous others over the 41 year long history of international environmental discussion. Reports-as-usual is not good enough. Taking account of the ‘last-minute before collapse’ urgency of the issues I call on this report to go much further by:
Firstly to take the opportunity of the historical failure of international environmental governance to think deeply about what keeps going wrong, to explicitly say what you think and and to attempt something distinctively new based on new thinking. What is it about the way that civil society agendas are presented that makes them perennially self-defeating? For example what about the psychology of offering constraints within limits versus offering an expansive vision that would create the same real-world outcome?
Secondly to make productive use of all the expressions of positive values by connecting them to tangible clearly defined policy mechanisms – so the values can turn from wishes to realities. For example the debate on economic growth predates the entire environmental movement so it’s not good enough to have no answers. We should not still conflate the financial measure of GDP with physical measures of resources and impacts. We should not still omit the central role of pricing for the prevention of externalities, which decides whether or not growth runs in destruct-mode.
Thirdly to benefit from the observation, made on the first day of the first international environmental gathering – and repeated every day since, that all the issues are interconnected and indivisible. This is the big ridiculous blindspot of global change, that we acknowledge interconnectedness and then manage issues separately. Continued efforts at incremental change in issue silos can only follow the path of decades of unsustainability to its abrupt and messy end. Any serious change effort must seek change of the global whole system as a whole. Interlinked = interlocked.
I hope this can be of use. For further thoughts please get in touch or see my Rio+20 submission, BlindSpot Rio+20 input (pdf) The UN have now removed public input from their site and the original link to my submission is broken,