If humanity had a brain – if we had a truly global society rather than a world of suspicious and antagonistic tribal nations – it would be obvious what we must do. We would collaborate on a massive overhaul of our buildings, transportation systems and economic infrastructure to improve energy efficiency and to shift away from burning fossil fuels. But we cannot wait for a slow process of consensus. Let us not whine about whether we will be somewhat disadvantaged by moving first in a direction which all must move eventually. It is better to take a small disadvantage ahead of the crowd, in order to gain the benefits of leadership.
A sustainable economy can include a human society that delivers more good to its members, even while enriching, rather than degrading, the ecosystem we live in.
It is time to put aside, explicitly and decisively, the objective of higher GDP. GDP measures quantity, not quality of production. GDP presumes that a growth in production is a growth in quality of life, when in fact we have reached a point that the opposite is true. Not even our current level of goods production can be sustained, much less continual increases.
Every “thing” we can name is a system, containing components which interact. And of course, every component is a thing and thus another system, containing another level of components.