In defence of sustainability and solidarity

At the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 the term “sustainability” was linked to development. Since then, the term “sustainability” has become more and more vague and is now overused to the point of emptiness.

FYEG aims to re-conceptualise sustainability on the foundation of solidarity. We believe that individual and societal consumption have to be adjusted to the carrying capacity of the Earth. This adjustment process starts with awareness. As we become more aware of complex structures of interdependency, we start to realise to what extent our actions affect others. This consciousness imposes obligations on us towards present and future generations.

We believe ecological sustainability alone is not enough! The obligation towards humans includes not only the protection of the ecosystem but also caring for others. This implies the equitable sharing of resources whilst understanding and respecting difference through cultural awareness. This is how we understand solidarity: responsibility grounded in connectedness, empathy and empowerment for the weak and vulnerable.

Climate change, extreme poverty, the loss of biodiversity, and discrimination are among the most important problems we cannot ignore. We believe that profound change can only be achieved by combining structural change, a change in individual behaviour and collective action.

29 for, 2 against
Adopted at the FYEG Sustainability and Solidarity Study Session, Budapest, 26/06/04

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