Open Conference Systems, RUC Sunrise Triple C Conference: Climate – Change – Communication

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Sustainability means ethics and this is a cultural revolution
Michel Puech

Last modified: 2010-04-15


Statement of Purpose: This paper tackles the question "what is a sustainable culture?". It construes sustainability issues, including climate change, as cultural change issues. This cultural change is not a matter of official "sustainability policy" but requires a sustainability ethics. It implies not a political but a cultural revolution.

Paper Description: I start with a statement of facts. We are currently attempting  a sustainability reform and it does not seem to work. When change is planned and enacted by the existing power, it is a reform. Otherwise, we are on our way toward a revolution, a change of governing structures and not a change by governing structures. But this revolution is not a brutal shift of power.  It is a slow and enduring bottom-up change. It is essentially an empowerment of micro-actors. I will introduce some tools for this pervasive ethical change - from Thoreau (self-reliance and examined life), Gandhi (satyagraha and swadeshi), Illich (conviviality and non counterproductive institutions)

Conclusions: The conclusions of this paper are those of my next book (April 2010, Paris, Le Pommier): Sustainability: a Do-it-yourself Future (in French). Sustainability is not directly a challenge to our institutions. It is a challenge to our lifestyle, firstly to our personal lifestyle, and secondly to our "social  lifestyle" (institutional, economical, political). They are not "sustainable" in this complete sense of the word: they will not last and they do not meet the requirements of human dignity (ethical and ecological dignity)

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