On the 5th of August 2008 I was privileged along with several other international speakers and their life partners to take a private tour of the United Nations headquarters in New York. I was not a fan of this organisation prior, believing that they were a toothless tiger.
As I sat in the Great Hall where world leaders gather and heard and read the stories in other places of the United Nations work, I changed my mind. I came away feeling and thinking they make a difference and without them we may not even be here!
Realising sustainability was our greatest challenge almost a quarter of a century ago, The United Nations commissioned Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland to deﬁne sustainability. In the 1987 World Commission of Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) Report, sustainability was deﬁned as
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Forum for the Futureʼs Jonathon Porritt improved on the deﬁnition of sustainability in my view.
Sustainable development is a dynamic process which enables people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the earthʼs life-support systems.
Both Brundtland and Porritt are talking about a process, whereas for me sustainability is both process and outcome.
All outcomes are preceded by process of course. A key process for any outcome is intention, feeling, thinking, and action.
Members of The Australian Government are currently on the road vigoursly selling a new carbon tax. With the support of Independents and The Greens Party the tax will soon be law. The lead up has caused quite a stir in my country with most polls showing the majority of people are against the tax.
I think the proposed tax is better than doing nothing. I believe the government is having trouble selling it because most people doubt their intention. As a general rule we simply do not trust politicians, and with good reason. Our Prime Minister promised the people there would be no carbon tax during the last election campaign. She changed her mind, or maybe it was always her intention. Whatever the reason, I am glad she is doing what she is.
The President of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Bjorn Stigson says, Business cannot survive in societies that fail.
What are you doing in your business to ensure society’s survival?
All action is preceded by intentions, feelings, and thoughts.
I believe that sustainability is an outcome of intention, heart and mind set, and then action.
What are your intentions, feelings, and thoughts about sustainability?
Whatever they are, they precede and determine what you are doing.
Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community
Author of Changing What’s Normal
Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.