We are at a point where hard choices need to be made and acted on together. Market leaders and society as a whole are acknowledging that the climate change challenge is of our own making. It is a result of the built environment that makes up modern society and all the goods and services that drive our global economic engine. It is a result of the industrial revolutions of the past that have allowed us to produce more, go farther, and move faster; where the only defining measure of success is constant growth.
If left unchecked, the environmental effects of industrialization and urbanization will be a real challenge to manage. According to the United Nations, we are on track for global populations to reach almost 10 billion by 2050. At the same time, more of us are moving to urban centres, with 47 “megacities” (populations of 10 million or greater) around the world already in existence as of 2017. To build these centres as we have in the past, we will need more energy, more resources, more infrastructure, and more technology. Our traditional economic model focuses on “producing more,” and now we need to hold ourselves accountable to the repercussions — including the UN’s global targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Where can we improve?
There are many measures to take a holistic approach to more sustainable practices. Here are two notable examples: