I visited the Gulf of Corryvreckan between the Scottish islands of Jura and Scarba earlier in the year. Spinning around in a small boat in this maelstrom of sea, where tides meet and whirlpools result, didn’t feel too dissimilar to the current tumult in many of our political and social systems. The chaos created by the energy transition, the disorder of an old economic order meeting the new, the reaction to progress.
This palpable feeling of being on the cusp of something was reflected in the 30th anniversary conversations with our network. One likens it to a fever that needs to break, another observes as the world becomes more progressive reactionary movements follow, SustainAbility co-founder John Elkington believes that we are seeing “the early signals of an unravelling” that holds huge challenge but also great opportunity over the next 10-15 years.
The next 15 years will take us to, and beyond, 2030: the deadline for implementing the UN Global Goals. The UN’s bold ambition to free the human race from poverty and secure and repair our planet gives a clear view of the future we want. Many are optimistic about humanity’s ability to get us there. But collectively we have made many poor decisions. The choices we now make around technology, energy, equality and the economy will determine whether we spin around in a whirlpool of fear and anger, or move with a turning tide of the positive, equitable, just and sustainable change in the world.
SustainAbility’s network has always been at the heart of its work. We are indebted to the inspirational thinkers and doers whose insights continue to influence the work we do. We thank all those who have not only contributed to this issue, but to our work and thinking over the past 30 years. We look forward to our continued work together.