Dedicated to finding a path to sustainable development

Thinking about sustainable development

This place is dedicated to learning about how to live a more sustainable life.  It is about finding a path to sustainable development.

The name, A Life of Contradictions, is an acknowledgement to the complexity and difficulty of that path.  The decision making necessary to ensure sustainable development contains so many variables we sometimes (or often) encounter contradictions and make mistakes.

I have deliberately chosen to focus on sustainable development over the more commonly used term, sustainability, because the ‘development’ component is incredibly important.  Development means we need to keep growing and innovating and, yes, that means growing the economy, but not in the traditional way where the focus is on more and more consumption to generate growth.

A widely used definition of sustainable development is “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Our Common Future or the Brundtland Report, 1987).

We don’t need to go back to the dark ages in order to live sustainably but it is obvious that we can’t carry on with wasteful consumption of the finite resources of our one planet.  With more than 7 billion people we no longer have enough resources to keep everyone in the style they are (or would like to become) accustomed to.  It is clear to me that we must be a lot more thoughtful about how we use the limited resources we do have.  Exactly the best way to do that though is not fully understood, by me or by anyone, which is why I’d like to explore options and come to some conclusions about what path I, we, you, the world, should be taking.

Consumption is an extremely important component on this path.  Every time I buy something I think carefully about how it is made, what resources are used, where is it made, how far has the various components and eventually the complete object travelled, and how will it be disposed of.  That’s a lot to think about and along the way I make mistakes.  This site will explore the extraordinary amount of information that’s out there and look at how to make better choices about how we purchase goods and services.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.  It will be full of adventure, learning, philosophy, dead-ends, hopefully be inspiring and helpful, and I’m sure there will be a few contradictions along the way.

Sustainable Development News…

My main activity here at the moment is the sustainable development news.  You can sign up (on the right of this page) to have the newsletter delivered direct to your inbox every weekday.  The news is wide ranging and relevant, covering energy and climate change; the economy; environment; food systems; politics and society; technology and urban planning.  All with a focus on how to do things more sustainably, which means taking into account the environmental and societal impacts while maintaining a healthy economy.  For too many years we have lived with an outdated economic model based on consumption and endless growth.  We can no longer afford to stay on this path.

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