Friday, August 14, 2009

Sustainability is also about economy and social problems

When talking about sustainability, most often it is about the environment, or the ecological sustainability. But for reaching that you have to consider both economic sustainability and social sustainability in a close working network with the nature. The parts can't live alone.

Solving environmental problems must be the focus in a very close future, without a healthy surrounding mankind can't live. Environmental problems are, unfortunately, always abstract, huge and normally seen as luxury problems. Something that people with (time), money and new technology should work with. That is not the real picture.

Economy and ecology are often two opposites sides that with a first look seems to works against each other. It costs to invent green technology and clean emissions. And most of all, as an consequence of a capitalistic way of looking at the world, when resource are non-ending, a wealthy environment is nothing to even count on. This is exacly what the environmental problems is about!
If you then talk about a sustainable economy, that is something different. This will also think about the consequences of the environment or the ground base for everything; the sustaiable economy knows that resources are not never-ending, so if we want to have a stable economy, or a economy that don't have to move around in the world to find more resources, the only way would be to take care of the resources we already have in a good way! We don't have more than this earth to find our resources.
Resources can also be seen as the people in an society, that have a need for things and services. Therefore social sustainability have to been seen as an equally to the other two, and here you have something to work with.

Everything is very close connected to each other. A society have to take care of its residents to take care of the environment, and it can't be too expensive.
We have different solutions for different kind of people. Very wealthy people can do recycling and buy new cars or buy better houses, but how many in the world is that? Sweden and Scandinavia, Japan are maybe some. But even in these countries there are also a big portion of non-rich people that can't do anything at all for their situation. The environmental problems is not the biggest problem. That is to survive.
And even if you are wealthy you don't have to care about the environment, maybe you don't know or maybe you don't- what? Care? Have the energy? The knowledge? It's about a lot. Mostly, environmental problems lays in the environment close to you- if it's not an easy way bike or to take the bus or recycle you would not do it!
And if this is the problem even for wealthy people, how can we then tell people that don't have food for their day to be more environmental sustainable?

It's not fare to blame anyone in this situation. We have to build the right environment for people. So in the short run- we have to clean the environment to fix the social problems to even have an economy. So where should the money come from in the first place?

And WHO would fix it?

Curitiba (link to the right) is a good example of how to make things happen a bit faster and cheaper than in other cities. Because in Curitiba they had big problems with unhealthy people. And it's not only here we have to act right now, everything is connected in this world. There is no self-suficient societys left in the wealthy world, so if you can't see the environmental problems or the health problems or poor people that's because your goods are produced somewhere else.

A very good example of a solved environmental problem is the Mediterranean Sea. When tourists started to go here, the hotels had their sewer right to the ocean. This wasn't so clever, because the tourists came to swim in the sea and didn't want to swim in their feces, so problem was solved quite easy, beacause if they didn't have a nice ocean they didn't have any costumers and then no money.
This is how it's works and should work. Unfortunately a lot of people do swim in feces and also live in it, but noone cares because they are not costumers with money.

If you see as much to the social, economic and ecological side to archive the future for people, that is a future that will be a good solution in the long term; and that is what sustainability is about.

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