Sustainability Requires More
From man’s first use of tools to the Wright brothers’ flight, people have always wanted more. At musical concerts we call for “more”, to our guests we offer more, and for our children we want everything. It is human nature to strive for more — from our first step we never stop exploring, never stop reaching for things slightly outside of our physical ability. This drive makes us learn new things and grow stronger every day.
In sharp contrast to this stands the demand to do ‘less:’ reduce, cut, stop our behaviour. We do too much and we use too much. This narrative is so often ineffective at driving change because it strikes a nerve of resistance in most people. It goes against our most innate behaviour: our drive for more. It jars with our political system of winning more votes. It also goes against our entrepreneurial and artistic spirit to create. The language of less fails to resonate with the public as well as with those in political and corporate power positions, even when faced with the greatest challenges of our time – be it climate change, food prices or water shortages. As a result it has kept sustainability on the fringes, locked out of most boardrooms, and assigned to low priority international political processes.
This must change. Sustainability is too important to be restricted by the language of less. Sustainability is more: more nutrition, more health, more time, more nature, more community, more compassion, more education. Instead of urging people to do less we can ignite people’s imagination by calling on individuals, businesses, investors and governments to do more. Overcoming the challenges facing us requires more ingenuity and innovation, not less.
FAI recognizes that sustainability represents unique opportunities for everyone, everywhere.
For example, many businesses can address their carbon footprint by doing more video conferencing rather than regularly flying their employees to meetings. However, this is not the best opportunity available to an airline, as most of their employees’ jobs are to fly. Succeeding at sustainability depends on unlocking everyone’s unique motivation and potential to innovate and create solutions. Similarly, eating more vegetables and fish might be one way people chose to make an impact on green house gasses and land use. However, it is not the action that will mobilise beef farmers to act for sustainability. Their opportunity lies elsewhere – At FAI we help them find it.
If we are to unlock the solutions to our greatest challenges we must mobilise the human drive for more. This is what FAI stands for — an agenda for more. More Nature. More Welfare. More Income. More Science. More Quality. More Nutrition. More Health.