Towards a Philosophy of Sustainability


It is very difficult recognizing (let alone dealing with) a problem that oneself is a part of, especially when it would mean having to make radical changes to one's way of life. This is particularly true in respect to the problem of achieving sustainability (for 7-9 billion of us) on our finite and vulnerable planet, Spaceship Earth.

Everyone's first concern - naturally and understandably - is to take care of themselves and their families, which necessitates maintaining or improving their niche (and source of income) in the socio-economic environment. This is what millions of years of evolution have programmed us to do (the socio-economic environment having effectively replaced the natural environment as the place where we struggle for survival and advantage).

The modern socio-economic environment is the product - not just, but very largely - of man's more animal than human nature. As a consequence, it contains millions of niches (i.e. Jobs ) that are unsustainable. For example, all those that depend on non-renewable resources such as natural gas and oil, not just in the natural gas and oil industries themselves, but also in the industries which depend on them, such as the automobile and aviation industries, and in turn the millions of other jobs which depend, directly or indirectly, on these industries.

Some of the vast amount of wealth generated by our non-sustainable economy is used to support armies of artists, scientists and academics, many of them working, in one way or another, on environmental problems and sustainability. But like everyone else, their first concern is also looking after themselves and their families in the socio-economic environment. Thus, they too have difficulty fully recognizing a problem they themselves are a part of.

We all (even those concerned with saving the planet) need to look very carefully and self-critically at ourselves and our own particular niches in the existing, non-sustainable socio-economic environment.

This is why it is necessary for us to create an alternative, sustainable socio-economic order (environment) rooted in our more enlightened human nature. So that we can wean ourselves - each when they are ready and at their own pace, but as quickly as possible - from the unsustainable socio-economic order we all depend on at the moment.