Yves here. One does not have to look hard to discern the troubling message of this post: that people are no longer motivated by appeals to broader, more abstract values, that what motivates them are more narrow, survival-oriented approaches.
While it’s always a bit dangerous to challenge someone on what he considers to be his his home turf, I wonder whether Dr. Nelson Lebo III’s abandonment of the notion of sustainability has less to do with that idea not being as motivating as he had hoped, versus the march from triumph to triumph of disposable products and planned obsolescence. It’s far more work than it used to be to buck that trend, and most people are ever more time stressed. But people also fall prey to conformity. Do you really need a new phone every two years? Or to churn your other devices as often as you do? People are horrified to see how antique my cell phone is, and I find their disapproval comical.
But Lebo’s reading is based on a sense that individuals are pulling in their focus to me, mine, and my family. It’s reminiscent of a conversation I had with a friend who is the ex-wife of a billionaire, now living modestly and teaching calculus as an adjunct at a local college. She said:
I can’t get concerned any more about tragedies. We have billions of people living on this planet who are going to die because it can’t support them. I used to care about people dying in Guatemala but now I think that saving lives now means more deaths later. I know it sounds selfish but I’ve decided to care about science and my family and not much else.I wonder how widely her sort of thinking is shared.
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth
This is another essay from our friend Dr. Nelson Lebo III in New Zealand. Nelson is a certified expert in everything to do with resilience, especially how to build a home and a community designed to withstand disasters, be they natural or man-made, an earthquake or Baltimore. Aware that he may rub quite a few people the wrong way, he explains here why he has shifted from seeing what he does in the context of sustainability, to that of resilience. There’s something profoundly dark in that shift, but it’s not all bad.
Nelson Lebo III: Sustainability is so 2007. Those were the heady days before the Global Financial Crisis, before $2-plus/litre petrol here in New Zealand, before the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit, before the Christchurch earthquakes, before the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)…the list continues.
Since 2008, informed conversations on the economy, the environment, and energy have shifted from ‘sustainability’ to ‘resilience’. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this shift, but I’ll focus on just two: undeniable trends and a loss of faith. Let me explain.
Since 2008, most of the pre-existing trends in income inequality, extreme weather events and energy price volatility have ramped up. Sustainability is about halting and reversing these trends, but there is essentially no evidence of that type of progress, and in fact the data shows the opposite.
Plenty of quantitative data exists for the last seven years to document these accelerated trends, the most obvious is the continually widening gap between rich and poor everyone else. The second wave of commentary on the Baltimore riots (after the superficiality of the mainstream media) has been about the lack of economic activity and opportunity in many of the largely African-American neighbourhoods.
Continue reading at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/resilience-is-the-new-black.html