smart, safe & fair: on sustainability strategy

hockey sticks

The human support system is failing faster than you can flick a hockey stick. Fact is, all of our system metrics have gone exponential--fuel, money, emissions, population--so the trend lines look like hockey sticks.

This system failure follows from our failure to see the whole system.

Now, our new 'mental map' of this support system shows three 'spheres' that are inter-looped, reciprocal and dynamic.

A series of vicious cycles already flicked on in each sphere is exacerbating the threats in the other spheres.

So, wot's our strategy and how do we resolve all of these challenges together? That's the question.

We look stupid running down the planet with our mindless consumption driven by cheap energy.

We feel unsafe in the changing climate, and we know it's unfair to be greedy.

We want a smarter economy, a safer environment, and a community that is more fair.

We are stuck in a system whose "positive feedback" loops have turned negative.

We are eating oil and dumping the detritus in our dining room as we plop down, surrounded by our servants.

So, what does our new 'mental map' suggest we should do, now?

The smartest thing we can do in our economy is to switch away from fossil fuels.

The safest thing we can do in our ecology is to plan adaptation for the coming climate catastrophe.

The fairest thing we can do in our community is to build from the bottom-up.

As we learn how to use energy more smartly and navigate a safer path through a warming planet, we are best-advised to start at the bottom to rebuild our life support system.

The rich folks (and countries) may come along, yet it is the vast majority of less-well-off Earthlings who need the wholeness of sustainability...like yesterday.

Certainly, most Kauaians want to be able to feed and power ourselves and get around this island in a way that is regenerative, not degenerative.

Imagine ordinary folks, living life with a sustainability ethic, and managing communities that reinforce our smarts, our safety, and our fairness...Yeah! That's the ticket!

We all want to switch away...to change our ways. How are we gonna do that?

Let's talk about this. Mebbe over at Paul Hawken's WiserEarth...

...where you'll find hundreds of groups in each area of focus, including these ten on Kauai: Garden Island RC&D, GMO Free Kaua`i, Hui o Laka, Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana, Kaua`i Food Bank, Kaua`i Public Land Trust, Kauai Freecycle  Group, NTBG, The Kauaian Institute, and Waipa Foundation

Published by Ken on September 29th, 2008 tagged HI-specific, Systems Thinking

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