The Sustainability Game

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Oil. a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons that is present in suitable rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including petrol, paraffin, and diesel oil

Some may call it the enemy. I call it one of the smartest ways which have led to massive human development. Unfortunately in 2020, the same cannot be said. It brings uncertainty, dependency, and pollution. We have found a geo-resource and helped our economies, societies, development, but not the natural environment.

Natural Environment. Encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial.

We have managed to reach the fourth industrial revolution without destroying our species. We have created civilization, powered endless energy in it, developed machines to work for us, and all this has let the burden of responsibility to humanity. We are exploiting our resources and our economies will be doomed. What we earn today will be spent tomorrow for recovery from our negative externalities of production.

Responsibility. the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. an instance of being responsible.

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

This is the start of the game, reader. Stay with me. Oil is one of the greatest geo-resource found by humans as it has brought endless societal and economical developments. Through its extraction, however, lots of CO2 is emitted and megafauna destruction can also be a side effect. With this, there should be a gigantic responsibility falling under our minds. The need to become with nature. This is not happening. We are too dependent on oil to let it go, but what is being earned today, will all be used tomorrow for recovery of our species after all the externalities hit us. Where is the intelligence?

Intelligence. The capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving

All that will be read in the next few seconds is based on my opinion with the knowledge I´ve been developing for the past 4 years. The capacity of logic for most leaders falls in the need to create economic growth as fast and efficiently possible, not taking into account the long term consequences. What matters is today, not tomorrow. For younger generations, the capacity of logic falls under the realization of our future life due to the decisions of our current leaders. There is no future for us with the current pace of exploitation, thus something MUST change.

We need problem-solving, we need innovative solutions, we need symbiotic modes of production.

Symbiosis. any type of close and long-term biological interaction between two different biological organisms, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic.

We need to synchronize with nature and help each other. This can be done in several ways. Step 1, cut off oil, step 2, cut off oil, step 3, becoming circular and re-thinking our modes of production. Now, oil halting right now is off the table. There are limited amounts left, there is too much dependency, and there is not enough time to make a radical transition away from fossil fuels today. So, cutting oil is no option, fantastic. What next? Build around it, become circular.

Circular economy. an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources

Now, we face the game again, reader. Our leaders have a different logic than generations Z or M has. Most exploit today, for the good of today. We, alternatively, care about today, for the good of tomorrow. If they have different logic that us, what are the chances of all the globe transitioning into a circular and responsible model where there is no waste and endless life to resources? The game, reader…this is the beautiful irony of sustainable development throughout different generations. We all grew up with a different society, environment, struggles, education, thinking, families. How do we solve it?

We play the game of the countries either opting for individualism VS collectivism.

Now, for the ones who are not familiar with game theory, the highest payoff is the most attractive option. It is equivalent to the gain in the game. Clearly, individualism TODAY wins. Both countries make more money (4,4 on the grid) than stopping all the development and planning a strategy to save our future (2,2 on the grid).

My time is coming to an end, and the last sentences I write for you are the most crucial ones. We need to show leaders that a non-linear economy is as favorable as the one we have today. We must show them, give the models, numbers, statistics, ideas. They must know sustainability is not their enemy. My part is to create a reflection in your head, which is yours?

Our destiny is not in being, but in becoming. Without this, humanity will be doomed, and each of us will fall with it. Let´s mobilize our minds to make this world a better place.



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Isabella Madrid Malo

Isabella Madrid Malo

Welcome to my zen mode. I am a sustainability advocate, utopian dreamer, creative writer, and words lover. I write for you.