“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.”
What’s it all about?
The quest for a sustainable future is all about questions. Some are big and some are small. Some are about the nature and purpose of our systems of value, and some about how we value our loved ones. Sometimes the smallest questions have the biggest answers.
Human beings are good at asking questions. We start off very good indeed.
Children’s ability and commitment to asking questions often outstrips our ability to answer them. This is not merely that an incessant stream of ‘why?’ questions is tiring, it’s also that some of the time we genuinely don’t know the answers to the questions we are asked or are unprepared to deal with their true implications.
As we grow up, we often keep questioning, but the scope of those questions can narrow due to the practical need to balance a sense of wonder with passing an exam or earning an income. We still question aspects of life but often these become more about the details and less about the overall purpose. This ‘bounded rationality’, keeps our questions within a less examined frame of reference and is one of the challenges our species faces in breaking away from unsustainable ways of being and creating new ones that may differ slightly or radically.
Some questions demand answers
“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.”
Arthur C. Clarke
In essence, sustainability is about one of two things; doing the same things very differently or doing very different things.
Maintaining our status-quo commits us to a collision course with the very real limits to possibility on this wonderful though populous planet.
To follow a path to sustainability we need to ask and then answer some fundamental questions of economics, finance, culture and business. Not just “can we do business with less impact?” but “how do we connect finance with a flourishing future in the first place?”
Over previous centuries immense logic and ingenuity have been applied in the creation of our systems of value and enterprise. However, we face challenges which require a rejuvenation of our thinking because the logic of the past often falls short of the obstacles of the future.
The current rules of the game for capitalism are undermining its own long-term existence. Any game includes winners and losers, creativity, luck, cooperation and competition, and should do so in order to deliver creativity, innovation and the chance of individual and collective choice, reward and well-being.
Changing the rules of the game such that capitalism seeks to deliver sustainability wouldn’t affect the range of possible outcomes and types of choices within the game. Indeed it would guarantee that we all had more chance to play for longer, and indeed might guarantee that more of us might ‘win’.
Whatever will be, will be
“If single human beings — if one single rickety infant — can be born as it were by accident and die futile, why not the whole race?”
H. G. Wells
Towards 9 Billion asks some big questions about the nature of things and some naïve questions as to whether things must be as they are.
Humans tend to love and despise systems in equal measure. The systems of economics, capitalism and enterprise which surround and drive us are required and beloved but also feared and doubted.
Our writing is intended to present and explore new ideas and hopefully provide some inspiration about how we might think differently about a sustainable future and the route to achieving it.
- Why do our systems of value and production function as they do and might they be capable of becoming truly planetarily compatible?
- How can our markets give rise to behaviour so perverse that it’s in no one’s interest to leave them untouched?
- Might there be a larger purpose behind these systems and might we aspire to more human approaches for the good our home and our species?
- Do our current systems of value contain the seeds of the next ones?
- Must profit for one always mean loss for another?
- Must we learn to leave behind our expectations of linear cause and effect in an increasingly changeable world?
- How do we move to a positive sum economy, where common good and private interest naturally align?
Out now – Towards 9 Billion book series
We have packaged a range of our writing over the last few years into a series of short, E-books, which are available now.
There are 5 in the series and each is available as an eBook or a hardcopy version from Amazon.
You can also access free excerpts of each book directly from us by going to www.terrafiniti.com/towards-9-billion-books
Here are just some of the kind things people have said about our work:
“Big ideas for massive challenges: Terrafiniti’s Towards 9 Billion provides a wide range of solution-oriented perspectives on the prospect – often seen as daunting – of accommodating 9 billion people within the remits of our one planet.”
David Nussbaum, Chief Executive – the Elders, former CEO – WWF-UK
“Towards 9 Billion addresses the critical issues that face our planet in the 21st century, from business and economics to sustainable energy and technology. I love its wide-ranging intelligence, lucid prose and interdisciplinary approach to scoping a new economics for our age.”
“With this series of e-books, Terrafiniti continue to not only pose the most important questions of our time – namely, how do we sustain and thrive on a planet of 9 billion people – but also propose some fantastic ideas as to how we might do just that. A must read for anybody interested in where the planet is headed – and finding solutions to our most pressing challenges.”
Jeremy Leggett, author, environmentalist, activist and solar pioneer
Sowing the seeds of a sustainable world?
Just as plants and animals broadcast seed and progeny in vast numbers in the hope that some will survive and flourish, we hope that our ideas might have the chance to do the same; to find receptive places in which to thrive.
We hope that our writing and the books might play a small but useful role in imagining and building a future fit for people and the planet.
I help busy people in ambitious companies explore their sustainable future. While I don't know if we're a good fit for your business, why not contact me so I can learn more about your unique challenges?Get in touch