In 1960, there were 3 billion people in our world and they used approximately half the resources – food, water arable land and energy that the planet could sustainably provide. In 1986, there were 5 billion people, and they were using all of the planet’s sustainable resources. For 20 years now, we have been running an ecological deficit by exploiting forests, overfishing the oceans, filling the atmosphere with pollutants, over-fertilizing farmlands and depleting our fresh water resources to supply our needs. The forecast by 2050 is 9 billion people will be using twice our Earth’s resources. By any measure, these figures should be frightening, but they haven’t had much of an affect on our consumption or design. Despite what could be called a dire situation, we have not been able to engage the collective interest in a new way of thinking and behaving.
One of the benefits of high energy costs is that they engage our interest. Reykjavik, Iceland, where gasoline prices are among the highest in the world, has implemented an ambitious program to use hydrogen fuel cells as a primary source of energy. North America and China, by contrast, have gasoline prices that are among the lowest in the world, along with massive traffic congestion and rising pollution levels. According to the World Bank, of the worlds thirty most polluted
cities, twenty are in China. Conservation is often a function of economics – a more powerful incentive than conscience or altruism. To suggest that much of the world is addicted to oil as a primary source of energy is an understatement. As China and India move rapidly towards prosperity and a consumer culture, vast amounts of steel, aluminum and coal are also being used, as well as natural resources such as wood and water.
With prosperity comes consumption, depletion and pollution, forming a fragile balance we must negotiate as human-kind. As a species we must carefully negotiate as we navigate towards the future.
The case for a new kind of leadership and design that is smart, conscious and ecologically sustainable (Eco-Logix) has never been stronger. We have only one Earth and one chance to re-orient our collective trajectory to a more desirable and preferred future. By invoking sound stewardship we can ensure a future for generations and millions of other species that share our home (Earth) with us.
The work of Earth One The Centre for Eco-Logix is the focus on elegant Design and Leadership possibilities.