Yes, 2021 will be a better year – if we make it so.
Everyone I know is glad this year is coming to an end. But there are no guarantees that the next one will be much better – not until all nations, rich and poor, have rolled out their vaccination programmes.
But we’ve learned such a lot. The value of science. The value of collective will. The value of kindness.
And the value of gratitude. Gratitude to the governments who had the caring and courage to act fast. Gratitude to people who helped others. Gratitude to those whose creativity and humour inspired us and made us laugh.
Yes, it’s been hard and many people have suffered. But look at how rapidly people moved to work from home, take their business online, create a whole new business. Look how many of us found we liked being with our families, even though we missed our friends. And look how many of us got out into nature and loved it.
But we’ve also been shocked by how fast things got ‘back to normal’ – that is, normal levels of busy-ness, noise, pollution and emissions.
Is that it? No beautiful new sustainable world?
What shall we do now?
How about we use our new-found values, strengths, agility and creativity to build that beautiful new sustainable world ourselves, using the many tools we have to hand?
Check out some of these tools and how they align in the diagram above.
And check out these great quotes (sources below) on a Just Transition to sustainability:
- “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” Steve Jobs (1)
- “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” Bill Gates (2)
- “Transitioning to the circular economy represents a $4.5 trillion opportunity, and has the potential to catalyze the biggest social, economic and environmental changes since the First Industrial Revolution.” Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (3)
- “Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is central to facilitating the transition to green economies and sustainable societies and achieving the international community’s ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.” UNESCO (4)
It’s all about Learning for Life on Earth.
(2) Licklider, J.C.R. (1965) Libraries of the Future Part 1: Man’s Interaction with Recorded Knowledge. MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A predecessor of Bill Gates’ quote is in Chapter 1: The Size of the Body of Recorded Information (page 17). It was subsequently adapted and popularized by Bill Gates in the Afterword to his book Gates, Bill (1996) The Road Ahead. Completely Revised and Up-to-date, Afterword, Penguin Books, New York. (Not yet verified with hardcopy; based on data from the Yale Book of Quotations and ABC News, according to Quote Investigator at quoteinvestigator.com/2019/01/03/estimate/ [accessed 15 August 2019].
(3) World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2018) Driving a Circular Vision: Sims Metal Management Joins the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. An article posted on 21 August 2018 at www.wbcsd.org/Overview/News-Insights/General/News/Sims-Metal-Management-Joins-the-World-Business-Council-for-Sustainable-Development [accessed 2 June 2019].
(4) UNESCO (2016) Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) (2016-2021). United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (pages 4 and 6). Downloadable from unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245239. See also www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld. [Both sites accessed 7 August 2019.]