Creating sustainability must be a collective task, just like fighting a pandemic. This means that organizations must start working together much more in radical interdependency. After all, change will only come about on the basis of new forms of collaboration, new agreements and new rules between citizens, businesses and government. A decisive government – without totalitarian overreach – is needed to implement measures that we want as citizens but do not applaud as consumers. Recently, the government has shown that it can do this.
The seven crowbars for real progress
The pursuit of broad prosperity and biodiversity should be central to all policies. To move toward a sustainable, resilient society, seven breakthroughs are needed over the next decade:
- Shift the burden from labor to resource use and emissions, and phase out fossil industry tax breaks.;
- Include the value of ecological and social capital in economic decisions.
- Work toward real prices that include all costs, such as CO₂ emissions, nitrogen, pollution, and a living wage.
- Give more room to forms of organization of citizens and companies together, for example for the management of land and other ‘commons’.
- Make producers responsible for the entire life cycle of their product, even when it is at its end.
- Tax wealth instead of labor and reduce economic inequality.
- Invest in stopping companies that do not contribute to societal values by pricing and taxing combined with legislation and regulation.
Sustainability is not about less, but about more. Much more.
If we do it smartly, sustainability is not about less but more: more comfort, more health, more clean air, more creativity and craftsmanship, more quality, and more equality. Inevitably, people will lose their jobs. But other jobs will be created in new sectors. The danger lurks that the desire for the old may be stronger than the appreciation of the new, which after all costs time, uncertainty and money. But we should not be deterred from doing so. Every political party that does not make the pursuit of sustainability, biodiversity and circularity its spearhead in the coming elections should be shunned. The axiom that we must first get the economy in order and then we can work on sustainability is dangerous and misleading and only puts us at a disadvantage.
A stable national transition plan – like the one we already have for dikes – valid for an entire decade would provide a powerful starting point. In doing so, we must also give ourselves the opportunity to make mistakes. Because in order to deal effectively with the changes, we may have to learn to approach the social engineering of society with more modesty. What we have to do along the way leads to a process of fiddling and trying, of trial and error.
In all of this it applies that we humans are passers-by on this earth. We must cherish, restore and manage the earth with the utmost care so that the generations after us can live and love it.
The Sustainable Throne Speech 2020 of prof. Jan Jonker combines seamlessly to my nominated Management Book of 2021 and best seller ‘Once Upon A Future – kies zelf je koers in een veranderende wereld’ en op het inspiriment “De Great Reset”.
More info: [book: Once Upon A Future] and [inspiriment: De Great Reset]