What I experienced in the past week was, to say the least, a highlight of my academic and even personal life. One of these lifetime events that make you open your eyes in a way that provokes a plethora of questions- challenging, thought-provoking and even inspiring in a way that makes you look from a completely new perspective. In the light of today’s Earth day I give closer attention to a prevailing topic in the sessions I attended at WBCSD LD 2018– impactful and measurable progress can be achieved through combining and leveraging our power and business acumen in the areas that need it first.
As Lynas (2011) (1) explicitly states, we have already acquired the powers to transform the world… and destroy life. I have to admit that reading about the Earth history turned out to be a lot more engaging than I initially anticipated, simply because up to now I would always research future-related solutions without paying enough attention to what caused the current condition of human-environment relationship. We might have been on this planet for a minute, but the changes driven by the humankind are simply colossal. Having caused the advent of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch, we are even competing with the great forces of Nature (2).
Scholars have been challenged to reimagine their thinking and knowledge in order to take a deep and reflective look at the conditions that operate on local and global levels (3). What really struck me throughout the preparation for our field trip was the fact that even if we manage to cease some destructive processes, certain negative consequences will be still present for decades ahead.
However, now that I can reflect on what I knew before and after attending the conference, I find myself more positively inspired as the WBCSD sessions focused mainly on productivity in the long-term and how we can achieve sustainable outcomes by considerable knowledge of our current context boundaries along with shared data and emphasis on sustainability reporting as a part of companies’ strategy and decision-making (4). And to address all of this in terms of future security, one needs a collaborative trans-disciplinary problem-solving approach combined with compassion for all members of the community of life – this is how we can change dramatically our conduct on Earth (5).
I have been galvanized to explore specific areas of sustainable development I feel passionate about and you will observe how diverse our interests are even though we might have triggered them by attending the same sessions. One thing is for sure… we have caused colossal changes to our relationship with environment and we have done so by interacting and joining powers. And while we find different ‘hot topics’ that need to be addressed, we cannot take the necessary actions on our own.
Having analyzed my personal areas of interest, I discovered that teaming-up is a common feature and an integral part of the blogs I am about to post in the next days… stay tuned!
By Yolina Stoyanova, 22nd April 2018
(1) Lynas, M. (2011) The God Species: How the planet can survive the ages of humans. Fourth Estate.
(2) Dominey-Howes, D. (2018). Hazards and disasters in the Anthropocene: some critical reflections for the future. Geoscience Letters, 5(1), 7.
(3) Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin III, F. S., Lambin, E., … & Nykvist, B. (2009). Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and society, 14(2).
(5) Ahmad, W., Soskolne, C. L., & Ahmed, T. (2012). Strategic thinking on sustainability: challenges and sectoral roles. Environment, Development and sustainability, 14(1), 67-83.