We has only recently become aware of our unsustainable personal practices. We have struggled to resolve our own confusion and paralysis to initiate actions, but, as we began to appreciate "reality," the true condition of our world today, we knew that we must change. Here are a few of our observations that motivated us to examine our personal actions as well as the actions of our enterprises.
The following subsections provide several facts and observations that we offer as a way to quickly let our community of readers better appreciate our current global state of affairs. It represents real challenges to be addressed and, for our sustainable enterprises, opportunities to provide solutions.
Rainforests. Between 20 and 40 years remaining at current deforestation rates
Atlantic cod. Stocks collapsed and not recovering
Grain. Harvest less than consumption globally for fourth year in a row
Freshwater. Two-thirds of all people in severe shortage by 2025
Top soil. Agricultural land area the size of China at "very high risk" of human-induced desertification
Polar ice cap. 20% gone in the last 25 years
Ecological footprint. A resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology. Today, humanity's ecological footprint is more than 23% larger than the planet's regeneration capacity. In other words, it now takes more than one year and two months for the Earth to regenerate what we use in a single year.
Every day more than 3 billion human beings live on less than $2 (Curtis et al., 2005)
The three richest people in the world control more wealth than 600,000,000 people in the poorest countries on Earth (Curtis et al., 2005)
Eighty of the world's poorest countries are poorer now than they were 20 years ago (Curtis et al., 2005)
The cost estimate of ending starvation and malnutrition everywhere is US$19 billion per year (Symes, 2006)
Globally, US$47 billion is spent every year on ice cream (Symes, 2006)
Globally, more than US$1 trillion each year is spent on weapons (Symes, 2006)
The 2005 Carbon Disclosure Project survey of CEOs and the climate change and carbon management practices of their companies were endorsed by more than US$30 trillion of investment capital (Morrow, 2006)
One in five of the world's children gets no schooling whatsoever (Symes, 2006)
The United States spends more money every year on building prisons than it does on schools (Symes, 2006)
There are currently more than 30 ongoing armed conflicts in the world and roughly one-third of the world's population is at war (Symes, 2006)
The United Nations reported that the global population has increased by 500 million people since 1999, to more than 6.5 billion people today (United Nations Population Division, 2006)
The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the population will grow almost 50% again to approximately 9.1 billion with almost all of these increases occurring in developing countries (United Nations Population Division, 2006)
By increasing our understanding and awareness of the above unsustainability practices, let's make our commitment to building sustainable enterprises that can contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the world and its ecosystems for generations to come.