Sustainability: Time for real conversations

With all the Filter bubble discourse on the digital, one feels very poignant about little less conversation, little more action please. Sustainability, Climate Change, Diversity have been emptied out of the ethos of social justice and packaged in to MICE categories, where TED talk like conferences substitute reading and thinking which should be done in private. Meetings are the shop floor of the post industrial era, but life is still anchored in the basics. A smart meter can measure energy consumption but most of the energy is still produced from LNG and Coal. Water scarcity is real in Cape Town and Shimla, and as most of the globe is urban by now, we are not talking about utilising Treated Effluents as a value add to the water mix. Real infrastructure is nuts and bolts, no start up can built that. Public sector has to serve public goods.

Sustainability fails as it is hardly understood. It is a multi headed hydra. The human element is missing. The outcomes from any sustainability imperative is improvement of the quality of life. Environmental compliance is not the consent to operate. Thoothukudi happened because something happened. With the fourth industrial revolution, Sustainability will have to converse with tech bros of the Valley ecosystem. As a operational category, how does the construct communicate between commerce and community, tech and talent. The next generation of sustainability leaders will have to breathe in humanity in tech, and be the interculator of convergence between science and society.

Break the intellectual silos, as poetry is an insight in to the soul of the environmental discourse. Rachel Carson, wrote beautiful prose. With the hottest summer globally on record this year, do we still think that Climate Change is theoretical?

As an environmental engineer, I write too little on sustainability as I feel it is turned in to a sales pitch. It’s time that we breathe some real science in to the narrative.


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