The bottom-line is that SDG 8, requiring the pursuit of ‘economic growth’, actually undermines all the other SDGs. Growth is not a good thing. It is not necessary. And it will soon in any case be ending.
It is time for the United Nations and its various agencies to recognize that its top-down organizational structure is not suited to address our myriad ecological crises, and rather use its influence to advocate for, and allocate its resources to support, land custodianship for the millions of indigenous communities keeping alive the knowledge of how to live within the bounty of what our mother Earth provides.
As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, we publicly call on the UN to drop the redundant and unhelpful ideology of Sustainable Development.
We need to move fast and with bold aspiration, while retaining critical reflexivity, as we create a new chapter in the evolution of our ways of educating on this—as yet—still beautiful planet.
Alan AtKisson has been working professionally in sustainable development since 1988 and has been recognized internationally as a pioneering innovator and thought-leader in the field. Alan addresses the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?”
Considering the large ecological debts of the Global North and the related structural inequalities of power and wealth, it can be doubted that a one-fits-all solution such as the SDGs helps bridge the existing extreme inequalities between countries.
Most people haven’t heard about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For thousands of years we have grown — in population, in energy consumption, in land under cultivation, in bits of data, in economic output.
What are some of the successes of the sustainability movement? What exactly can sustainists hang their hats on?
It isn’t that we expect the parchment won’t get inked, but rather that the document won’t actually accomplish its task even if the conference is a complete success.
A handful of dramatic targets — set and met — seems to have also emboldened the global community with a sense that “Yes, We Really Can”. These include, for example, the eradication of smallpox and hopefully the imminent eradication of polio and Guinea worm. Such successes are a remarkable tribute to cooperation and sustained commitment, and perhaps it is these indisputably admirable qualities that have led the international community to set an ever-increasing range of ambitious targets, including the Millennium Development Goals, Kyoto Protocol Emission Targets, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Pearson Target, etc.