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The Sustainability Challenge


The Sustainability Challenge
Sustainability is such a simple idea – it means simply to be able to keep on going as you are.
However, at the same time it challenges some very basic assumptions as to what life is like and how we relate to our surrounding. Western society has been built up on the assumption that individuals and societies can continuously advance their condition. We have made enormous advances in our economic prosperity, (despite continuing poverty), and many other countries are eager to follow suit. 
This progress has been based on the assumption of unbounded human ingenuity and nature’s bounty. Individualism has triumphed over communitarianism, profligacy over frugality, human demands over natures’ preservation, the present over the future and the physical over the spiritual. For forty years we have been told that we are threatening the planet, but society has resisted the message, and now is facing dire threats. There are many deep dilemmas about how we should respond. 
However, while action has not changed significantly over that time, thinking has, and there are a wide range of initiatives to address sustainability issues in one way or another. Much of it is partial or superficial, while re-enforcing other aspects of the problem. There is a long way to go in recognising the full scope of the issue, let alone acting on it.
The “Sustainability Weekend” gives Quakers an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the key issues of sustainability, to consider what Quakers might contribute, and to develop the capability and strategies to make an impact.