The Age today carries a truly inspiring story of what many might now consider “getting it right” with balancing the economy, the environment and society generally. Or in a word, a viable sustainability.
Vaxjo in Sweden started heading for fossil fuel independence in 1996. They hope to finally be free from oil by 2020 (they have no real fossil fuel resources themselves to speak of). And, while there are challenges ahead, they seem basically on track. The interesting lesson for other Western countries (although the article emphasises the interest that China is showing in their success) is that they have done it while keeping growth at 5%, unemployment at 4% and they’ve also been phasing out nuclear energy along the way.
Admittedly the Swedish culture is quite different from other nations of the world – its communal, progressive, nature loving features are hard to find so deeply embedded in other countries. But while their collective value system may be playing a huge role in their success with transitioning to sustainability, it isn’t something that can’t be compensated for to some degree by novel approaches in other areas . Innovation being something that most Western countries pride themselves on.
So, instead of the doom and gloom, take a break, and be refreshed by the arctic fresh air of one viable pathway to a desirable, sustainable and prosperous future.