Sustainable World
Goran Carstedt
I have been invited to share some reflections, in a 10-15 minutes introduction.

If we agree that Sustainable World means closing the accelerating gaps of the ecological, social and spiritual divides, as said yesterday by Peter Senge, we are talking about a profound transformation of our societies, in how we live, how we think, how we reconnect to each others, how we reconnect with nature.

Is this transformation – metamorphosis –  under way ?


My short answer would be – YES, it is, BUT is it profound enough and when it comes to climate change, is it fast enough to avoid disruptive climate disasters ?
I have personally been engaged in the sustainability challenge, over 40 years.

On the one hand, when it comes to climate change,  I can see many promising tipping points – technologically, politically as well as among global corporations.

However, in today’s perspective, with today’s knowledge and understanding, when it comes to global warming, most efforts so far, have been little more than band aid, quick fixes, with good intentions, but far from enough to take us onto a true sustainable trajectory. At best, it has been about reducing un-sustainability, treating symptoms, shifting the burden.

As we all know, green house gases causing climate change, still continue to increase globally. Global warming is accelerating, but in spite of such alarming facts, the international political meetings accomplish nothing of real importance yet. That is, we still remain in denial about the real threats human civilization is in. Scientific warnings are followed by institutional inactions, or at least, we are not organized to address global challenges. Most people coming to negotiations in Rio or Doha, are there to defend their self interest, their own national interest. They come to represent their part, not the whole.
After all these years working with these questions, am I optimistic or pessimistic ? Seeing the challenges ahead of us, the inertia in most systems and the resourceful self interest from many organizations and institutions, I have to say that intellectually, with my left brain, I cannot be other than rather pessimistic. However, we have to stay hopeful.

To refill my hopefulness, I go back to the first industrial revolution. That was a profound transformation of our societies. Remember, there was no starting point, no end point, no  plan, no person or organization in charge. It was a process of a million small beginnings, an outpouring of human creativity. Many people started to see the world with new eyes.

That is hopeful, isn´t it? That means all of us can be part of million small beginnings. We do not have to sit and wait for a “ Churchill” that has to come and lead us. But we have to design a desirable future. Transforming to a sustainable future is about creating something desirable, not about solving a problem.

The power of hope!
Vaclav Havel, being imprisoned many times for his opposition, was asked by his wife, whether he was optimistic or pessimistic after all  years of struggle. In his famous letter  , from prison, he wrote:

Optimism, my dear wife, that is an expectation, based on the evidence at hand, that there is a reasonable likelihood of a positive outcome. But hope is something very different. Hope is the certainty, that something make sense, regardless of how things might turn out…

We have to stay hopeful. We have to  ask ourselves what is important and meaningful to me? Where do I want to put my energy?  What future do I want to be part of creating? Remember, the future is not a road to be predicted or discovered. The future has still to be created.
Transformation, a metamorphosis, towards a sustainable future, what role can we play? What tipping points do you see? What role can and should the SOL network play in supporting this transformation ?
Workshop: What inspires you ?
 Tipping points in conclusion:
  • Connect people to a desired outcome
  • Develop a renewed sense of community
  • Reconnect with ancient wisdom
  • Experiment nature as our mentor, we are part of the whole
  • Survival reflex – Nature topic of consciousness for inner source
  • Sustainable issues developped at school
  • Opportunity to practise, not to stay in the intellectual level: personal commitment and volunteer work of children
  • Stop hyperconsumerism (sticker on 4*4 : « dangerous for the planet »)
  • Being local
  • Talking sustainability: Proto of everyday life, something embedded in everyone
  • Companies talking of sustainability as local issues
  • How to spread the knowledge: to make our successes live further by writing, publishing… Keep tracks. Inside and outside.
  • Inscribe officially it in the company so that people take the time
  • First changes: You can not change back ? Make it irreversible. And give time to people to spread their knowledge
Participants' testimony
Valérie: Story from Switzerland

Mobile Hub: A laboratory of mobility which creates dialogue between citizens (100 persons) and administrators to find 100 ideas to improve mobility through creativity workshops Key learning: what made the project to be a success? We made the people of the city feel the needs of disabled and citizens understand the job of engineers.  Understand each others in the true, daily reality. We pushed people to express real examples of their daily life and stop complaining on a general basis with no dialogue but confrontation. Take a picture of that. And then you can start the transformation because of a different look. This mobile lab is an example for other departments.

Amin Belemlih,  Marocco, Casablanca – Consultant, coach for collective intelligence, transformation, CEO of state agency in charge of an Ecocity.

Target: 3000 habitants close to Casablanca who eco-design everything. He developped several focus groups through technical components of the project. But question: how to go to another level of dialogue? A new model of engagement/comitment of different stakeholders? Something that would enable the ecosystem?

Leverage: What can we leverage to change the perspective of dynamics? Langage needs to change. How can we connect in a different way, connect in a different relationship? Start with wisdom. There is a need to be wise otherwise we don’t go very far. Connect to our feets on the ground, make it happen. A dream of mine : how to contribute to become an ecosociety, and that this is not the only city.

Nicolas Imbert, Executive Director of Green Cross France et Territoires, an environmental NGO present in 33 countries.

Sustainable or desirable are the same. Major companies have sustainable teams, but not all the people in the company have integrated sustainability in their action. It’s not integrated in the business. We experienced that  when transforming the territories.

Example of Porks in Britanny (France): In Britanny, pig farming generates green algues which causes environmental problems. All the stakeholders were around a table to find a solution, and they prototyped with 10 farmers, and now with 100 farmers. We needed to do a lot of efforts to convince every stakeholders to work with all the datas: economic issues but social and environmental issues too !!

Göran Carstedt: people work in silos. 4 steps to have in mind:

  1. Why is the first comitment : you need to have it.
  2. Team prototyping
  3. Doing
  4. Systemic level
There is no small act when we are 60 millions to do that!!