Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the next President of the United States on 20th January. For many his imminent anointment as leader of the free world is a cause for concern. Amongst other things, his rhetoric on climate change and its causes has been vague yet incendiary. Who can forget the “global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” tweet? But whether he and his incoming administration and indeed a significant portion of Americans believe in climate change is somewhat irrelevant. That is not to say climate change is irrelevant, but merely to focus on it in absolute terms is intellectually dull.
It is not that difficult to pick holes in the veracity of some climate change data or assumptions. But to do so is disingenuous and misses the point. Climate change, manmade or otherwise, should be seen as an arbour. It the most obvious and unavoidable universal factor from which to hinge global societal change. All life on Earth is affected by changes in our climate. Beneath this though are two incontrovertible patterns, which dovetail to highlight the fragility of the status quo: population growth and terminable resources.
The global population will reach 7.6 billion in 2017 and a population density of 1 person per square metre by 2733 (based on current trajectory). In direct relation to this exponential growth, pressure on global resources continues to accelerate. This correlation is clearly unsustainable.
Changing the status quo, whether you believe in climate change or not, is unavoidable and essential. Our collective post-industrial ethos of maximising short-term returns has run its course and is no longer the most efficient or viable business model. No amount of discussion or denial of the veracity of climate data will change this. Our predicament is clear, no matter how it is politicised or presented. Sustainability must therefore be collectively embraced.
|2017 holds much to be positive about. Already, it is clear many individuals, corporations and governments see sustainability as central to future development. This trend is unlikely to be reversed. Climate change will no doubt take centre stage as the Trump administration makes its mark, but beneath the blizzard of tweets and recriminations, the inescapable reality of our predicament will drive positive and sustainable change. As a mindset, sustainability should be about creating possibilities and not to limit options.|