Sustainablity: From the Parts to the Whole

This is part one in a five-part series of papers on the rise of the paradigm of sustainability. In this paper, we look at what sustainability is and how our economies will be shaped along a number of dimensions as it grows in significance in the coming decades. The challenges presented by the environmental crisis and sustainable development are of a kind that we have not seen before, and we do not currently have solutions to. As we will discuss in this paper our existing industrial age institutional infrastructure is not designed for the kind of complexity engendered in the challenge of achieving sustainability; as Einstein would say we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. If we are to gain real traction on the core global issues presented it will require a transformation in the deep institutional infrastructure of our existing socio-economic systems to exhibit new functional capabilities. It is for this reason that we identify sustainable development as one of the few megatrends transforming postindustrial economies into a more complex form.

  • Publish Date: 4-1-2017

  • Length: 12 pages

  • Type: Environment Insight

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