Sustainability – so what?
It really does matter and what we do as individuals and collectively has a massive impact on our futures and those of generations to come. It is not just about climate change. It is about wealth, poverty, inequality, water, ecosystems, resource scarcity and so much more. Here is a little story from “What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?” by Tony Juniper that shows clearly that every action has an impact, often of enormous and unforeseeable magnitude:
Indian vultures are now virtually extinct on the subcontinent. It was only when they were almost gone that it became apparent quite what they had been doing to support the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people. Simply, they acted as a waste disposal service – a flock would clean the carcass of a dead cow in a few minutes and disposed of about 12 million tonnes of flesh each year. The vultures were inadvertently killed off by anti-inflammatory drugs injected into cattle. When the cattle died, residues left in their carcasses were ingested by the vultures and it proved lethal to them. Without vultures to clean up, the corpses rotted and there was an explosion in the population of wild dogs which had more food. More dogs lead to more dog bites and that caused more rabies infections. The disease killed tens of thousands of people, in the process costing the Indian economy a figure estimated in excess of $30 billion.
The choices we make really matter.