The world has seen a plethora of Conference of the Parties (COP) on environment and climate change. This global consensus approach is traced back to the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) Report in 1980 and the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/38/161 in 1983 which laid the foundation for the Brundtland Commission for Our Common Future in 1987.
The Brundtland Commission was by fact the ‘inaugural COP’ chaired by the gutsy Norwegian Prime Minister Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland. I was only three years old in 1987 when the Brundtland Commission was commissioned, living under $1 per day with my siblings in Africa. In fact, the proviso for the Brundtland Commission was to meet the needs of the poor as the overriding priority and also address the posterity of the environment vis-à-vis the social and technology limitations.
The Brundtland Commission provided a standard template for the definition of sustainability. The Commission defined sustainable development as – ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future generations to meet their own needs.’ This argument of sustainable development has been debunked by environmentalist the likes of the Norwegian Arne Næss who believe deep ecology because of its economic-centric position for championing economic growth and development driven by natural capital. In academia, this approach to sustainability was connoted to weak sustainability the antithesis of strong sustainability. Weak sustainability posits that natural capital is either abundant or substitutable both as an input into the production of consumption of goods and as a provider of direct utility (Neumayr, 2013). Another sustainability scholar Gutes devours the arguing for weak sustainability and argues that is a standpoint of near complete environmental degradation, and I totally second this argument. Climate change is indeed a brainchild of Weak Sustainability, quote me on that one.
Fast forward to the current status quo on the global environment, we are still faced with the biggest climate crisis ever, that threatens not only the current generation but also the future generations if the business-as-usual continues to pantomime on the economic stage. And while there is still clear evidence for the current climate crisis abetted by scientific consensus from the inaugural IPCC First Assessment Report (AR1) to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) that human actions and pursuit for growth are in fact contributing to the rapid warming of the global temperature causing climate change. It’s twenty-nine (29) years between the first assessment report and the current assessment report by the IPCC supported by 25 Conference of the Parties (COP) and the penultimate COP 25 in Madrid resulting consensus failure. While there is a growing backlash and activism conspicuously led Greta Thunberg et al and other environmental groups like Green Peace against the current linear model of growth, the business-as-usual continues to triumph systemically.
Kudos to Greta Thunberg and millions of kids boycotting school on Friday for the consecutive 71st week to voice out the need to remove and reduce the greenhouse gases that is causing climate change. Greta Thunberg and millions of millions of kids belong to the largest demographic cohort the so-called Generation Z (Gen Z). Gen Z is approximately 30% of the current world population today, that’s 2 billion plus today. Gen Z the likes of Greta Thunberg and millions of kids are born late between late 1990s and 2015, mostly high-tech savvy. Today Gen Z’s they are currently represent the age group between 4-25 years and the record numbers have since joined the movement for change against the current greenhouse emissions trajectory that causes climate change. Gen Z today represents your future leaders, your CEOs, teachers, parents, Family and consumers. Your business today in the future with high climate footprint including energy consumption is totally out of business! Therefore, the Business-As-Usual Days are NUMBERED!
On a light note on the timeline review for the last decades, businesses both in the private and public sectors start the new decade the Year 2020 - 2030 should all support tooth and nail measures to reduce our climate footprint. Not all hope is lost, in fact the only hope lost is the opportunity lost that we did not act together for climate action.
TOGETHER LET US,
Let us reflect and put a stop to the Greenwashing that has been the cancer for climate change before starting the new decade.
Let us fix the Political Fatigue that still believes in linear growth of overconsumption that still litters our oceans with plastics and waste. And has consequently inflicted a Global Inequality and disrepute for human rights to thousands of children in the rainforest in the Congo digging up resources for capitalists.
Let us believe in a Circular Economy where our current used resources are reused and recycled.
Let us believe in the Intrinsic Value of Nature and not for natural capital that drives GDPs but as biosphere that sustains humanity and all the living beings in the ecosystem.
Let us Regenerate our forests, our lands, our oceans, our rivers and most important our oxygen that gives us fresh breath to live another day.
Let us Listen to Greta Thunberg and the Gen Z voices again to create a better world for them and their future generation. Their Hearts are incorruptible to the capitalist system!
Let us believe in Humanity as a guardian of our only planet like theirs is no other planets. There is indeed no Planet B!
Let us constantly be Accountable to our values and value chains ensuring that the environmental footprint is NET ZERO!
Let us Change the way we eat, the way we live and ensure Equality and Diversity for All.
Let us still believe in Global Goals and Paris Agreement to still pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the risks and impact of climate change! Even when we know it’s unattainable , we should act as if its attainable !
Let us Act for Climate Action the coming decade…