For more than two decades, a small group of people has been quietly designing ways for human beings to live sustainably. These researchers, innovators, and activists often work in vastly different disciplines – from economics to architecture, from sewage treatment to spirituality – but they share many key concepts and concerns, among them:
- A long-term, whole-systems perspective. The sciences of ecology, system dynamics, and quantum mechanics have taught us that everything truly is interconnected, and that only if we understand these connections – across time as well as space – can we hope to act wisely and make real progress.
- A humane and biocentric focus. Humans are but one unique species among many, all of which are dependent on the health of our planetary life support systems. Our way of life can, and must, protect those systems and species while meeting the basic needs of all human beings.
- A willingness to do the "impossible." The appropriate response to the serious environmental and social challenges we face is not despair, but innovation. There are ways to satisfy human needs that are also respectful of the planet. Many already exist and need to be implemented. Others we just have to invent – a skill at which we have proven adept.
For the past 7 years and 24 issues, IN CONTEXT has delighted in reporting on some of the best work to come out of what gets called, for want of a more poetic name, the "sustainability movement." In this anniversary 25th issue, we talk with many key figures in the sustainability movement about the latest developments in their field of expertise. We also look at the state of the movement itself: What distinguishes it from the environmental movement? How should it respond to the sudden surge of interest in, and demand for, its work? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead? We invite you read on.