A line in the sand for strong sustainability
As part of New Zealand's contribution to the UNDESD, in 2008 SANZ (phase2) convened two think tanks to consider the nature and form of a truly sustainable New Zealand.
Discussions were initially dominated on defining the conditions of sustainability, and later developed into sectoral scenarios of how those conditions might be met in the foreseeable future.
During 2009, phase2 board members worked on the think tank outputs and developed the material into a paper which was independently reviewed and before being released in August 2009. The paper was subsequently published, in booklet format, and launched on 3 September 2009 at a press briefing at the Science Media Centre in Wellington.
This paper was the result of the efforts of many people: think tank and seminar participants, writers and reviewers. Its core value lies in its assertion of the principles of strong sustainability and in the scenario that describes, in a plausible way, what a sustainable New Zealand - and the transition to it - could be like.
The crucial changes required for sustainability are a shift to a new set of societal ethics, values and 'world views', as well as a major overhaul of economics and approaches to population growth. All of this has to be considered in the context of unprecedented global changes which, in themselves, will be highly challenging for society and people. It is time for these matters to be raised and debated with urgency.