You have probably heard about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), but what I would like to ask is this: what is the difference between sustainability and sustenance? On my website I describe sustainability as follows: “The ability to be sustained, upheld and confirmed, i.e. not being harmful and staying relevant into the future.”
Because we understand our planet as a living system that depends on interrelated networks, we use and need feedback (information) to verify and test sustainability. This knowledge allows organisations to understand that disorder in the form of unsustainability is inevitable if their foundation is not adaptive to change. We have to understand organisations as complex, adaptive organisations of communication and integrated and coherently functioning systems. Their long-term existence depends on the connectivity and interaction of all activities and relationships.
Enhanced sustainability is the way to be sustained for the long term. Regulators and governments demand more compliance with an ever-growing number of rules, and laws are deemed necessary to protect life and the environment, but can they be sustainable when they would have to be enforced?
The criteria to sustain something can be listed as follows; an organisation needs to be viable. Its products or services must not be harmful to life, the environment and social cohesion. So, viability can be understood as sustainability too. Something that can’t live on is considered non-viable and thus unsustainable.
December COP25 summit on climate change took place in Madrid, after it was
cancelled because of riots in Santiago, Chile. I will discuss one major point taken
from its agenda that I find quite challenging, namely the intention to create a
global emissions trading system. What strikes me is that such a trading system
will perhaps mitigate the effects of fossil fuel burning but will not alleviate
the causes. I also read that the major oil companies combined intend to invest
more than a trillion dollars in the continuation of exploration and
exploitation of crude oil and natural gas. Will that be sustainable? Will that
not be harmful?
These are rhetorical questions - you already know the answers. Emissions trading would become a purpose on its own in a commercial marketplace where money to buy emission rights will oppose rather than support the desperately needed phasing out of hydrocarbons to sustainable and renewable energy sources.
But the UN SDGs are not just about energy or CO2 or climate change, they also address issues as poverty, clean water, health and well-being, to name just a few of the 17 goals. My own research shows that the solution towards a sustainable planet with sustainable life for all can’t be reach by centrally planned goals. It can only be learned through the use of relevant information that needs to be implemented in real time, in the now, so to speak.
It becomes quite easy if the UN and everyone would just understand that information and energy obey the same laws of physics like everything else in the universe, even you and me.
This is the latest in a series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com. Those interested in responding personally can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.[post_title] => Learning by Training: Sustainability [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => learning-by-training-sustainability [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-06 10:01:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-06 10:01:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=13659 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )