Choosing to do a post-graduation in 'Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Management' was certainly not a natural progression in my academic journey. I had completed a Bachelor's of Science previously, with a major in Mathematics, Statistics and Economics. As impressive as that sounds (or it might not to you, if you happen to be an engineer) I longed to choose a career which gave me returns on not only the bottom two levels of the Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs but also the highest two-levels on that pyramid- esteem needs and self-actualization. That is exactly what appealed to me about a career in environment and sustainability management. Although I am just starting out, I am certain that a career dedicated towards unlocking the true potential of doing things sustainably and hence strategically, will give me a sense of accomplishment for being a part of the change that can only be termed as inevitable.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Which brings us to what exactly is this change that I want to talk about? The most frequently used definition of Sustainable Development is the one put forth by the Brundtland Commission in 1987- "Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Even though the concept itself has existed since decades, its significance has never been higher than it is now. Our ability to sustain our life on Earth has never been more vulnerable.
The energy crisis, the endangerment of various species, rising sea-levels, depletion of natural resources, food and water shortages- the list of ongoing environmental debates is endless. What makes the debate so complicated is its multi-faceted nature. The pre-dominant environmental crises has many, far-reaching social and economic implications. Rising sea-levels may strike someone sitting in California as a mere statistic, however people in island nations such as Kiribati and Maldives wake up every day wondering how secure their future is because of this very phenomenon. Often we find that governments of nations, across the globe, find it daunting or even conflicting to tackle them head-on. The primary reason for it being that it is believed that environmental interests cannot be pursued until and unless huge economic sacrifices are made. This is true, only to a certain extent. While sustainable living presents us with sizeable challenges, it also presents us with opportunities. I do believe that we cannot sustain our current lifestyle without making substantial changes- changes that can be considered sustainable. Nevertheless these changes are achievable through a gradual shift from the pre-dominant economic-paradigm, towards the 'New-Ecological Paradigm' (NEP). The term NEP was first coined by Dunlap and Catton to endorse the necessity of taking environmental variables into full account.
This necessary departure from our current economic paradigm can only be achieved through efforts made by governments as well as corporations. While rigorous environmental regulation by governments can be considered as the most efficient method for doing so, convincing them to do the same is an infinitely complicated matter which I can only elaborate on over my next few posts (geopolitics of climate change a.k.a passing the parcel unlimited!). Thus corporate sustainability, remains our only other option. It cannot be denied that unsustainable business models and a lack of a cradle-to-grave analysis of business activities has caused most of our environmental crises currently. It thus only makes sense to not only refine but redesign our business activities through the principles of corporate environmental and sustainability management. Many companies are already recognising the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and moving away from their business-as-usual activities. Needless to say, the degrees to the extent each one of them is willing to go, does vary. However the first step is the most important step!
Aaand so hopefully I have given you a tiny snapshot of the type of discussions that will be featured on this blog. Although I have come across many blogs that are centred around green talks, I never felt there were enough when compared to how imperative they are. Thus this is my tiny contribution towards starting a healthy discussion on the environmental challenges we currently face, how we are currently tackling them and how we can tackle them even better. Although my area of expertise revolves around environmental management issues in the business context, my interests encompass a wide variety of environmental issues and I will attempt to write about them from time to time. Do drop in :)
In the meanwhile please follow me on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=322336411&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile. I am SO new and unfamiliar with this segment of social media, I need more connections to get the ball rolling!