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Backwards for the future or boldly forward?

By John Lloyd, Benalla Sustainable Future Group Inc.

Going backwards is surely the only description one can apply to the Abbott government’s policies on climate change and environment. Repeal the Carbon Tax, abolish the Climate Commission, “Coal is good for humanity”, “Coal is our future”.

A more positive view of the future was presented by Jason Drew at the Creative Innovation 2013 forum.  Jason Drew is a passionate environmentalist and futurist and he thinks the 21st century is full of opportunity. Following are excerpts from a report of his presentation in The Age on 21/10/2013, titled Boldly into the Future.

“The industrial revolution is over and the sustainability revolution has begun. Sustainable development is out and sustainable retreat is in. This changes the game for everyone. Development is a comfortable word.  Revolution is an entirely different matter – everybody and everything is swept up in it and changed by it. The sustainability revolution is by definition all encompassing and will deliver a complete rethinking of everything we have taken for granted as it sweeps our world.”

“The future used to be predictable, an extension of the present. That is no longer the case – the future is not what it used to be. To many it will seem disjointed and hard to understand. That is because for the next decades there will be two concurrent but separate futures. A part of our world will be racing towards a technological future and making innovative leaps that are hard for most of us to understand. The other future is a race towards a complete rethinking of how business works and interacts with 9 billion consumers and Mother Nature. The two futures will merge again, and at that point the future of the 21st century will be sealed, for good or for bad.”

“Sustainable retreat will define the 21st century in business. We will be doing things so differently that we consume almost nothing in the process of consumption and even undo damage caused by previous consumption. There will be a new market understanding – the 19th century was about production, the 20th about selling and consumption and the 21st about sharing, repairing, durability and upgrading.  Multigenerational product development, a staple business model of the past 50 years, is gone forever and will be replaced by upgradability as the core attribute of all new products.”

This is surely a future we should be striving for rather than going ‘back to the future’.