One small paradox

The idea that human race can achieve more with less seems like a paradox. The dominant economic paradigm that more economic growth creates more happiness and wellbeing is starting to be questioned by economists and decision makers.

At the same time there is a cultural shift occurring. More and more individuals are perceiving themselves as tiny parts of a greater whole, as citizens of the planet, governed first and foremost by natural laws. The paradox is that although each person sees themselves as tiny and insignificant in the total scheme of things, they also see themselves as free to make rational choices to live within natural planetary boundaries.

                    “I am small but I am part of something big”

The humbling realisation of smallness, rather than making one feel powerless leads to empowerment. As individuals with a common goal, people can view themselves as global citizens who can easily connect with likeminded people living in most any part of the world.

The fact that there is a transition already happening to this unstoppable idea is clear.  It manifests in micro technology, small-localised markets and consumer choices to smaller, more efficient cars and houses.

Western society is transitioning to a new era, hastened by a new wave of technological advancement, which is connecting people from all walks of life. As business and community leaders we need to embrace this change.

There are three areas that are most often linked with unsustainability; population increase, production of goods and services and the use of fossil fuels.  Each of these areas has the potential to transition from large to small. Population is set to stabilise at 9bn around 2050, lean manufacturing has taken on in a big way and renewables have the highest growth rate of any energy type.

The industrial revolution of the 19th C the paradigm was “big is better” is being supplanted by “smarter and more efficient”.


2 Replies to “One small paradox”

  1. Yes, ‘smarter and more efficient’ will definitely be an important way of thinking this century and education will be the key, already there is a shift in consciousness about sustainability, that seems to be deeper than just a fad or trend, that will hopefully continue and expand to all parts of the world – an environmental revolution!

    1. Amanda,
      The fact that being more water/energy/materials efficient saves money is driving a lot of change right now. But there’s more to it than that. You’ve hit the nail on the head to say there is a fundamental shift in consciousness about sustainability and I also think its very inked in with education, particularly amongst younger people.

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