phd research week 47

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The World We Made: Visions of a Sustainable Future - talk and book launch of Sir Jonathon Porritt, Founder of Forum for the Future  

"most of the things we value don't cost money" said Jonathon, money is only an expression of value.

The main thought of this talk I took, is much aligned to my PhD research interest, on the notion of value.  How do we re-define, what we value?  Here the intervention must be made at early stage of each individual, through the family, through love, through learning empathy.

We must "see the wood from the tree" and the willingness to reinvent environmentalism that is inspiring and allows us to pick up the tools and do it.  The notion of utopia is here important, our vision of a better future.  Jonathon talks of the "techno-cornucopianism", the singularity notion that environment and technology should go hand in hand, but questions how good may the outcome be?

On the thought of motivation towards engagement; if you don't think is possible to do, you wont do it.  So we must reinvent the story of sustainability in to a story of adventure, a story publics will want to participate in.  Most sustainability messages are "this is whats gonna happen even if you don't like it".  This para-dime is not working.  Anyone who does not offer a positive vision of the future without acknowledging the reality of today, is 'unreal', or in Jonathan's terms "a phony cornucopian".

key-points towards re-making the world are: - technical motivation to drive technology - social innovation - compassion, solidarity, empathy (this is the foundation on which technology revolution needs to be built)

"The failure to address environmental issues is not the failure of information but failure of imagination" - Jonathon Porritt

Environmentalism has not been good at engaging with technologists.  They have been suspicious/skeptical since the 1970's, and only now, we are witnessing a shift of partnership between tech vs (and) nature.  It is because of the maker revolution, the tech revolution, and the environmental revolution.  Combined, these three are elements towards a better world.

The common individual must intervene in the system through small acts of questioning more often.  It closes the triangle of Media, Politics and Big Business (Chomsky, theory of democracy/media).

For example, walk into Apple and say "your product is great, but your supply chain is shit. Can you improve that?"