Time to face the true cost of sustainability on a finite planet

Business Day Live 13 November 2012.

(Editor’s note: This article is not really about energy – but it is encouraging that this sort of  “zero growth” thinking is starting to become prevalent – or am I being a bit premature?)

THE world today simply has too many unsustainable excesses, extremes, gaps and imbalances to continue as it has done in the past. Unlike during previous crises, once current imbalances come to a head, the world will have to change — not out of choice, but out of necessity. And once this change is made, there will be no going back. The world cannot be the same again.

Before dismissing this as millennial exaggeration, even a cursory glance at the interplay between key macro variables, such as the environment, levels of sovereign debt, lack of jobs and fair pay, will lead to the conclusion that something isn’t right — that there is a design problem in the current world system.Picture: THINKSTOCK

If mankind is to find its way out of this economic cul-de-sac, it needs to look four unsustainable macro factors squarely in the eye: Earth as a finite planet, the enormous levels of current and future sovereign debt, human demographics, and inequality…

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