Sustainability; Carrying a Man with a Broken Waist Bone.
Understanding the scope of sustainability is important to effectively address issues surrounding the concept. I am tempted to believe that a majority of people do talk about sustainability from a single point of view.
The fact though is that sustainability is multi-faceted. I want you to envision carrying a man with a broken waist bone. How would you go about it? Would you simply carry him without any consideration of what he would be undergoing beyond your simplest understanding that his waist bone is broken?
You realize that if you do so, you endanger the life of that person even more. It thus calls that you take maximum care in handling such a critical health matter. The same is to be employed in how we address the issue of sustainability as it stands now.
Truthfully, the situation of our earth as it stands today is akin to the proverbial man whose waist bone is fractured. We have noted the criticality and danger of us continuing to do business as usual and the eventual impact it will have on our present life and subsequently the future generations.
Sustainability in the context of people, the planet, and profit can be illustrated further by the social, environmental, and economic aspects which call for meeting our present needs through careful utilization of resources, in a cost-effective way yet not doing so at the expense of future generations. Any detrimental effect from or on one of the three components needs to be addressed with urgency as losing balance negates the efforts of sustainability.
The earth is bleeding already, our population is still growing, we need to travel via air, we need to meet our daily basic needs, the rallying call is louder for us to rewild nature, and we are to consciously consider our actions and how they add up to the pain of a globally warming universe amongst much more effects facing us.
In a more precise manner, it narrows down to how behavior impacts the whole discourse. Man is responsible for all the problems that arise with environmental degradation, economic turmoil, and social disorder. And all of that lies in how a man acts.
In considering the popular call for a NetZero earth by 2050, organizations are committing themselves to do everything possible in their part to aid towards this achievement. In other words, they want to aid in the surgical undertaking of the broken waist to be repaired.
In this whole fiasco, there is a huge population who doesn’t give a damn what happens as long as they eat and meet their daily needs. For them, they are doing their part may be according to their job description to protect that mere small job that happens to be the source of their livelihood.
Besides, there is the other lot where some of us fall that is calling for accountability in finding the source of the waist bone fracture in the first place and what we can do to ensure the situation does not deteriorate further.
The challenge as with the first care-less team, we, too have objectives and a kind of ‘job description’ which have to be met. So all of us end up not walking the talk simply because we took our efforts toward addressing sustainability as a requirement to be met probably for audit purposes rather than a responsibility and matter of necessity.
I get surprised when the guy with 10 cars, all of them use gas, and are better described as guzzlers stand up to preach about why we should be conscious about sustainability. He goes a notch higher to challenge us to change our mindset about the ‘enough’ concept of what we need.
Looking keenly, not only at the fact that maybe he or she will drive only one car at a time but at the embodied energy of all the cars, you conclude why a small part of the population is said to be behind a majority of emissions. (embodied energy is looking at the total energy used or spent in making a product from mineral mining to delivery at the customer’s convenience.)
It doesn’t mean that having one car that uses gas makes the story any better, it simply reiterates the need for us to rethink our whole behavior in the entirety of our life and how some of the actions we take add up to the effects being experienced in terms of social inequality and inequalities, rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires as a result of climate change.
To carefully carry the man with a broken waist bone, you will need to understand that the man is in pain and he needs to be handled with utmost care. Your behavior determines the comfort of the patient. The same is for sustainability, we need to carefully consider our behavior and actions at every moment.
It is those actions that will determine whether the efforts toward a NetZero world will be achieved or not. Our behavior will be very critical in ensuring that sustainability in its entirety is met. The audit stops at our ‘doorstep.’ If we can sort out our behavior and attitude, the rest of the efforts and undertakings will fall into place.