Ask yourself two important questions: Is the quality of my life better than the life of my grandparents? Will the life of my grandchildren be better than mine? Although the first one can be answered without hesitation, the second one may cause puzzlement. Both were directed towards the audience of the World Resources Forum by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe and both were to deal with the human’s inborn greed: for development and for natural resources.
The main disease from which our generation is suffering from is the greed: borrowing from the future changes the world for worse. Short-term approach is risky for humanity: it causes environmental harm combined with resources shortage and contributes to climate change. Just to mention a few examples: by 2100 the temperature will rise by 3 degrees and the sea level will be 40 cm higher. The use of natural resources have risen by eight times. The distribution of consumption is unfair, giving 83% of goods for the rich. Over-consumption is crowning out prospects for the poor. Total cost of the last economic crisis in Europe is estimated at 13 trillion dollars whereas only a few millions of dollars worldwide are devoted to fight with poverty and climate change. Trigging instead of greening the economy may change the financial bubble into the bubble of poverty…
Although the present seems dark, there is a light of hope for the future. Millennium Consumption Goals proposed by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe offer a chance to make development more sustainable, preserve the planet, fight with poverty and establish prosperity. According to Sri Lankan scientist the way to sustainable development is similar to climbing a mountain. Firstly, we can reach the top only step by step. The first step is to be done by the poor by limiting the use of basic natural resources. The next step should be done by the rich by limiting the level of Co2 emission, pollution and waste. Secondly, we have to focus on the bottom-up perspective, transfer ideas from local to global level. When individuals understand that it is better to consume more sustainably instead of simply consuming more, the humanity will reach the top level of development.
To sum up, your homework for today is to think of the future and resign from the selfish greed!