In the modern era, just in the past 150 years, we have gone through prolific economic and technological development punctuated by periods of complete denial of the effects of this activity on the planet’s health and societal development. While treaties like the Kyoto Protocol first brought the subject of climate change into mainstream spheres of consciousness,
“…bringing consciousness to consumption, or becoming aware of the consequences of our consumption on the planet and people involved in the process, is perhaps the most practical way forward to becoming truly sustainable.”
It wasn’t until the past few decades, especially the post-millennium years, that awareness of climate change, sustainability, and social ills started reaching a mass awareness. While some still remain in denial, it has been largely accepted by both the developed and developing worlds that we have a serious and possible catastrophic problem on our hands which can have dire consequences for humanity’s survival.
The idea of sustainability has also evolved significantly in the past few decades. Most significantly, it has gone from something which was viewed as a problem external to our day to day lives to something which can only be addressed by bringing awareness to our daily choices. Installing solar and wind energy is only solving part of the problem. Water and waste management have to be dealt with and have become serious issues in themselves. But still, that is not enough.
Photo by Markus Spike on Unsplash
After all, humans, as self-proclaimed kings of the planet, have ensured that their unabated consumption habits have all but put the earth’s vital organs into serious jeopardy. It is therefore only appropriate, if not the only way forward, that bringing consciousness to consumption, or becoming aware of the consequences of our consumption on the planet and people involved in the process, is perhaps the most practical way forward to becoming truly sustainable. This is the new sustainability paradigm shift.