On the CUSP of a better future?
Yesterday I was at the launch of a new initiative, called the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). The event was chaired (and the centre is run) by Professor Tim Jackson, one of the country’s leading thinkers on sustainable economics, and the author of one of the best (and most accessible) books on the subject – Prosperity Without Growth.
It was really pleasing to see that a centre has now been set up to push forward work on the idea of sustainable prosperity – or creating a world “in which people everywhere have the capability to flourish as human beings – within the ecological and resource constraints of a finite planet.”
This is not just about climate change, economic inequality or well-being – it incorporates most modern progressive issues and touches every area of our individual lives and society. In short, it is probably the most important challenge that human beings are presented with right now.
So, the launch of this centre is welcome (to say the least), and another useful aspect of the centre is its focus on both research and practice – not only putting together rigorous academic thinking on how to achieve a more sustainable future, but also testing this thinking out and putting it into action, as the latter is what is most urgently needed. I hope the work of CUSP will be complementary to that of existing organisations like nef, who have done great work in getting individuals, politicians, businesses and other institutions to take this range of issues seriously and start gaining traction in tackling the challenges they present.
One question that was asked at the launch event yesterday was how we can get politicians to take action on a radically sustainable agenda. Caroline Lucas gave a good answer, in that we need more courageous politicians who are prepared to do more radical things, and that the only way they’ll develop the confidence to do this is to know that they won’t be punished at the ballot box for doing so. The way to give them this confidence is for people to show them that we want these policies.
So, ultimately, we – the public – have an important role to play in making this change happen – by being vocal in our support for sustainable economic policies, opposing the status quo, supporting companies and institutions that are trying a new way of working and generally by showing politicians this is how we want the future to be.
In conclusion, this will only happen by us leading the politicians. So let’s join the movement, support these organisations and start showing politicians that we want more fun, and less stuff!