The WHAT and WHY:
On July 11th global citizens will observe World Population Day. Did you know that in 2011 the world population surpassed the 7 billion mark? One of the greatest challenges we face today is figuring out how we are going to sustainably use our remaining limited resources while allowing future generations to meet their needs.
According to the UNFPA’s 2012 Population Matters for Sustainable Development Report for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, a call to integrate population into the water-food-energy nexus is the missing link in sustainable development. According to the expert panel from Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge University, population councils and other distinguished institutions we need to recognize:
• Population dynamics have a significant influence on sustainable development;
• Efforts to promote sustainable development that do not address population dynamics have, and will continue to, fail; and,
• Population dynamics are not destiny. Change is possible through a set of policies which respect human rights and freedoms and contribute to a reduction in fertility, notably access to sexual and reproductive health care, education beyond the primary level, and the empowerment of women.
“Any analysis of sustainable development must recognize the differences among people in terms of their impacts on the environment and their vulnerabilities to risk, which depend on their age, gender, location and other socioeconomic characteristics. New evidence indicates that human capital, enhanced through education and health (including reproductive health), can make a substantial difference in people’s contributions to sustainable development and their capacity to adapt to environmental change.” The Laxenburg Declaration, 2012
This week’s practice is to empower yourself with the capacity to change your unsustainable behaviors. Not because you need “points” from a gamification website or the green initiative software at work, or because you will avoid fines, penalties, carbon taxes or imprisonment but because it is the right and healthy thing to do for yourself, family and community; and will leave a world inhabitable for your children and your children’s children.
The Top Ten HOW:
1. Change one unsustainable habit at a time.
2. Make it simple, start small.
3. Write down a 30 day plan.
4. Ask for help and support as there will be sabotagers.
5. Become publicly accountable. Do it with a friend, a group, post it on your blog, write a column.
6. Exercise, rest and drink lots of water.
7. Use visualization, have a mantra and give yourself rewards.
8. Engineer it so it’s hard to fail.
9. Avoid situations and people that support unsustainable habits.
10. If you fail, try again. Obstacles can be overcome. Regroup, let go of guilt and just try again.
So let’s just do it, embrace radical openness* and cultivate an evolved sustainable world.
Let us know how you are doing!
The Deep Dive:
UNFPA 2012 Report – Population Matters for Sustainable Development
*Thanks to my colleague, Chris Brogan, for reminding me how much I love TED talks.