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  • I write as I begin my life at SustainAbility, at the close of a weekend which saw Cambridge – my home town – hosting WordFest, a wonderful mélange of ideas and people. And if I needed any further convincing of the importance of the work I am about to undertake, then this weekend did the trick.

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  • 1. Transitions

    In a year that saw an Arab Spring take hold and unseat entrenched autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya (TBD on Yemen and Syria), the withdrawal of the last American troops from Iraq, a European Union on the brink of transformative change (and potential collapse), a titan of technological (and economic) innovation pass away, and the growing acknowledgement (in the form of the Occupy protests), that the entanglement of the American political and financial system is a Faustian bargain that must be actively fought and protested against, the theme of transition feels all too apt.

    So too in the sustainability field, where in a world of seven billion inhabitants and growing, the five most urgent issues on the sustainability agenda are all perceived less urgently than they were in 2009.

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  • Copyright (c) Kyra Choucroun

    Despite years of thinking about the traditional model of economic growth, it wasn’t until I drove through rural Ghana that it truly hit me just how spectacularly it has failed to deliver on the promise of global prosperity.

    In my last blog I challenged the widely held belief that infinite growth is both necessary and viable. That piece generated a flood of responses, from howls of protest at one extreme to speaking invitations at the other. And it was one of those invitations that led me to Ghana in the first place, to share my views on how Africa can play a part in tackling the world’s most complex challenges at a youth-led conference in Kumasi.

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  • Last week we heard Clive Bloom – Emeritus Professor of English and American Studies at Middlesex University and author of Violent London: 2000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts – _commenting on BBC Radio 4 about the systemic issues that underpinned the devastating riots in London this month. With many now searching for an explanation of the sudden and surprising violence that spread across London and other parts of the UK, Bloom argues that sociological factors – chiefly endemic poverty and the alienation of consumer culture – are the real culprits, and further, that failing to address the fundamental issues and resentments of the communities that spawned the riots will only guarantee their repetition. The point is essential as we face the likelihood of wider and more frequent social disruption in response to economic, social and environmental stresses in the decades ahead.

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  • Image: AFP via sacbee.com

    The past week has been, in many ways, a watershed in post-independent India, with millions of Indians – young and old – taking to the streets in a public demonstration against corruption. The crowds have been unprecedented – I certainly do not remember anything like this since the late 1970s – and has cut across geographies and classes. And the man who has galvanized this is a 74-year old Gandhian called Anna Hazare (pronounced Ha-zaa-ray), a retired army soldier whose public contributions started in his small village in western India but who gradually became a relentless crusader against corruption in public life. Will this be a defining moment in India’s democracy? Are there lessons to be learnt, including for corporations in democracies? But I am getting a bit ahead of myself…

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  • I don’t know about you, but the closest I ever got to a Rubik’s Cube, shortly after it was first launched in 1974, was to handle one in a toy store. For me, it seemed insoluble – and many assumed it was, until persistent cubers discovered not just one way to crack the puzzle, but many. And the cube came to mind as I thought recently about the astonishingly complex global security challenge we now face…

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  • The Great Disruption – Are you ready?

    19 Apr 2011 – Paul Gilding

    It’s time for all those focusing on sustainability to change gears and review strategy. With the ecological system groaning under the strain of an economy simply too big for the planet, we have to face the uncomfortable truth. The time to act just preventatively has past. It is time to brace for impact as we enter The Great Disruption.

    The coming years won’t be pleasant, as our society and economy hits the wall and realigns around what was always an obvious reality: You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Not ‘should not’, or ‘better not’, but cannot.

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  • Will the US find the energy, optimism and courage necessary to invest in a better future right now?

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  • Ten people held the world to ransom for more than 50 hours as the world watched the drama unfold live...

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  • Is business truly prepared for the risks to physical assets due to climate change?

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