Presented at LKY School of Public Policy – Public Policy for SustainabilityForward Asia-Pacific Consulting PTE, LTDwww.creatingpositivefutures.netEcosphere 87 Beach Road #06-01, Singapore 189695+65 8406 2275
The future =Population growth +Resource depletion +Security and conflict +Climate change
Population growth:7-9bn on a planet that shouldsafely support 2bnEconomic and lifestyle ambitionto live like the West– with afootprint to match.
There will be 219,000people at the dinner tabletonight who were not therelast night—many of themwith empty plates. (EarthPolicy Institute)
Resource depletion:More people, competing for less―stuff‖.Especially critical: energy andwater (note the relationship).Other key resources (e.g. traceminerals) also declining in supply.
Half the world’s people live incountries where water tablesare falling as aquifers arebeing depleted. Since 70percent of world water use isfor irrigation, water shortagestranslate into food shortages.(Earth Policy Institute)
Virtually all of the top 20countries considered to be“failing states” aredepleting their naturalassets—forests,grasslands, soils, andaquifers—to sustain theirrapidly growing populations.(Earth Policy Institute)
Climate change:It will impact every aspectof human life.Temperature changes, erraticweather, droughts, sea level rise…They’re game changers at adifficult point in human evolution.
Winter temperatures in theArctic, including Alaska,western Canada, andeastern Russia, haveclimbed by 4–7 degreesFahrenheit over the lasthalf-century. This record risein temperature in the Arcticregion could lead tochanges in climate patternsthat will affect the entireplanet. (Earth PolicyInstitute)
Cleantech is a term used todescribe products or services thatimprove operational performance,productivity, or efficiency whilereducing costs, inputs, energyconsumption, waste, or pollution.(wikipedia)
Dr. Willie SmitsDutch conservationist andentrepreneur living inBorneoPioneered combinedsustainable forest farming,rainforest creation project,orangutan habitat, and eco-tourism venture: SambojaLestariAlso founded MasarangFoundation which amongother things helped pioneerconverting sugar palm toethanol
Tom SzakyAmerican ―eco-capitalist‖Created the startupTerracycle, a company thatmakes consumer productsout of post-consumerproductsFirst started by bottlingworm fertiliser in reusedplastic drink bottlesHas expanded to numerousother product lines; hasmany emulators worldwide
Anticipate the widerimplications of technology.
Some policy concerns:-How might emergent technology have effects (both positiveand negative) across environmental, social, and economiccriteria?-How can technology obsolescence be planned for, andmaterials be harvested for recycling or reuse? (rather thanmountains of E-waste)-How might technology impact cities, regions, and countriesunexpectedly? (e.g. think nuclear as a ―clean‖ option in Japan)-How might technology influence evolution of human culture?-What risks should be anticipated?-What safeguards might need to be in place?-What left-field problems might arise? (e.g. CFCs/ozone hole)-Is there a way to tackle an issue with a low-tech solution?(e.g. an electric robot lawn mower vs. a sheep)