Today marks World Environment Day – celebrated annually around the world on 5 June. This year the theme is “Seven billion dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care” – reminding us that our futures and our aspirations for a better world are inextricably interlinked and that the solutions to global challenges like climate change will only be solved through collaboration and a shared vision (and a #NewVision based on transformation) for the future. It also reminds us that our dreams for the future will only be possible if we look after the planet and consume resources sustainably and in a way that doesn’t undermine the futures of generations to come.
Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care
The current state of consumption of the world’s fragile and finite resources, including inefficient use of resources, puts the well being of people and the planet at risk and puts the Earth on a trajectory that will have severe, long-lasting consequences. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption – and we only have one planet!
Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realised.
Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.
The world’s new vision for sustainable development and climate change
Our world faces a myriad of global challenges including combating climate change, establishing gender equality, preserving biodiversity, access to education and eliminating poverty. We also have solutions to many of these challenges, but to implement them at the scale and rate needed to create impact for all people and avoid irreversible damage and loss – we need a coordinated action-plan for the future that has broad based support.
A new sustainable development agenda is in the process of being created to guide the world forward over the course of the next 15 years, until 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are being drafted for adoption later this year, will represent globally agreed upon priorities for addressing current global challenges with an action plan of targets and indicators for achieving the goals. They currently recognise that sustainable production and consumption should be embedded within the SDGs. In addition, UN member states have adopted a 10-year action plan on SCP (the 10YFP) to help accelerate the shift towards SCP patterns.
The power of collaboration, partnerships and engagement in the future we want
We are all agents of change. We all have influence. We can all make a difference. Together, with a shared new vision for the future that is grounded in the principles of sustainable development, we really can change the world. And the more people that take action to make this happen, the more accelerated and scaled this change can be. Many of us really do have the power to change our lifestyles so that they are more sustainable, resource-efficient, and less carbon-intense – and to persuade governments and leaders to implement the SDGs.
We need leaders and changemakers to show the way and inspire others to follow. We need to raise awareness about the power of the individual and collective action in changing the world and about the type of future we can create together.
On World Environment Day 2015, I imagine a future where everyone has access to healthy food, clean water, sustainable sources of energy, and where people are happy, live with purpose, are free from poverty and are able to live in harmony with nature.