L[i/o]ving cities

Archive for the ‘sustainability’ Category

THE UN-SUSTAINABILITY SPIRAL

In former posts of City Lines, I have focused my point of view on the different criteria that have to be considered for a correct planning of cities and territories. In these posts, I concluded that the main criteria to consider were social, environmental, and economic. Well, I still agree with this arguing and I would like to explain the Un-Sustainability Spiral that, nowadays, is happening under these three criteria.

I think I can start to explain this spiral with this Bible passage, Genesis 1-27, “God created man… and, then, the Spiral began. So, the first element to point out is “man” or humanity as the central element of social criteria. These social criteria basically lead us to try to have a higher life quality. Fortunately, we have been very successful in this issue during the last 10,000 years because we have been able to improve technologies that let us live three or four times more than 2,000 years ago.

Here comes the second of the criteria, the economic criterion related with technology. We can match technology and economy, because the knowledge of more technologies is the main reason that provides some nations with differential welfare to others and allow them to have better life conditions. So a modus operandi of our societies is gathering technologies as an equivalent to improving life quality.

Finally, the third criterion comes up, the environmental one, because going on gathering technologies needs natural resources. So commodities are essential to support these technologies that allow us to improve our life quality.

If we reread the thread of the argumentation we can find the Un-Sustainability Spiral. We want higher levels of life quality, so we improve our technologies and, for that, we consume more commodities. This spiral could be virtuous if commodities were infinite, which is not real, or if our new technologies were able to produce more with fewer natural resources, which nowadays is not happening, or if we wanted to have lower levels of life quality, which is definitely far from our thoughts.

In all this arguing there is only one thing that is a fact and that we cannot change, natural resources are limited on Earth. So, we have to work hard to improve technologies, otherwise we will have to fight to keep life quality, and in this war we can only aim to lose as little as possible.

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