• Beyond Transitions

The transition imperative

Climate change is here now, we are losing the war against it. Yes, we have seen that our planet is burning and biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate; it is increasingly acknowledged today that our current economic system of perpetual growth within finite planetary boundaries is the main driver of our overwhelming ecological crisis. Why is it then, that we still cling to a fossil fuel-dependant economic growth paradigm as an end in itself? Why do we still confuse economic growth as the ultimate goal, when it should in fact be validated as a means to an end? Why do we praise an economy of more rather than an economy of enough?

Why do we still cling to a fossil fuel-dependant economic growth paradigm as an end in itself?

It was late when international climate negotiations started taking place, but now it is even later to think about long and slow processes to save ourselves along with the ecosystems we happen to depend on. An ecological transition must be an imperative if we want to maintain a livable planet for future generations. This must be a holistic, ambitious, and just long-term transition, driven by a systemic change driving our socio-ecological interactions. There is no time to hesitate. We need sustainable and fair energy, one that respects communities and allows them to achieve more prosperity through better access, democratic representation, and collaborative governance schemes.

Yet, we will not succeed if we continue along the same system of economic incentives, whereby increased resource development, material growth, and mindless consumption are seen as symbols of progress. Our current economic paradigm based on infinite growth operating within the geophysical boundaries of a finite planet cannot save our ecosystems; we must prioritise qualitative development before quantitative growth. The ecological transition needs to facilitate access to energy for vulnerable communities, so that they can finally benefit from a sustainably-harvested, low-carbon source of energy that covers their basic needs and a sustainable human development. The fact of seeking large profits from conventional energy development without a system of equitable representation and participation is polarising the distribution of benefits and exacerbating wealth inequality between and within communities.

We need sustainable and fair energy that respects communities and allows them to achieve more prosperity through better access, democratic representation, and collaborative governance schemes.

So what is it that we need right now if we are to succeed in guaranteeing a liveable planet? Is it maintaining the status quo of our current economic system? Is it measuring success based on GDP growth rather than on universal access to opportunities? Or, is it perhaps a sense of community and ecological belonging that may lead us to a more just, collective and ecologically-balanced transition and society? Sadly, we do not have much time to choose and I think we know the answer.


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