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Broadly speaking, I've been preparing to write more about Sustainability. In addition to a lot of reading, I have talked to some people who know more than I about related subjects, and made arrangements to meet and talk with a few others - including at least one person who may join this forum. But I have a more general comment, as well.
One of the most compelling reasons for me to join this discussion is my belief that innovation and progress are essential to solving some of the problems we face with the environment. Specifically; only if the engine of innovation is moving along can the economy thrive, but maintaining and nurturing innovation is seen to be expendable - in the current economy - and once-mighty nations may crumble if it completely stalls.
New breed economists - inspired by people like Paul Pilzer - are willing to entertain this idea, driven by the notion that if limited resources are fixed - then we must focus on the areas where we can improve the picture. The old guard holds the field, however, in the world of finance - and the only model they have is that a growing population fuels a growing economy, which we know the planet cannot long sustain.
Now; I've spoken out about 'Bad Math' in the Finance sector wherever I've found a willing audience. I published an article or two, and even got my letter to the editors of Scientific American printed, but the 'Bad Economics' of cutting back on innovation when the economy is slack gets compounded by the lack of knowledgeable people who can help, when there is a dire need for innovative solutions. And the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico shows that Government and Industry are far too insular, when faced with problems that should be dealt with collaboratively.
That means this project and forum are vitally important! At FFP10, which was at UWA near Perth in 2009, I heard Gerard 't Hooft state that unless we had a great increase in the level and scope of collaboration, some advances would never come. Doug Osheroff's talk at that conference also stressed cooperation and collaboration, as part of his formula for fostering discoveries. As far as I can tell; only the scientists and engineers are capable of solving many of the problems we face - trying to save the planet - and then only if we are able to compare notes enough to benefit from each others knowledge and ideas.
So; while sustainability may be a hard sell in some arenas, innovation and progress should not be. And ultimately; that is how we can create a sustainable future.
All the Best,