Planet Earth has been here for over 4.5 billion years but in just two human generations we have managed to place our only ‘home’ at great risk. Complicating things further, the author observes, we may be on a path where information or data is becoming more important than feelings – reality vs science fiction? Many lessons from history have not yet been learned and new lessons may prove equally, if not more, difficult to take on board as we head deeper into the twenty-first century.
This book highlights two of our greatest social problems: changing the way we relate to the planet and to one another, and confronting how we use technology for the benefit of both humankind and the planet.
Covering a wide range of key topics, including environmental degradation, modern life, capitalism, robotics, financing of war (vs peace) and the pressing need to re-orient society towards a sustainable future, the book contends that lifelong learning for sustainability is key to our survival.
The author argues that One Health – recognising the fundamental interconnections between people, animals, plants, the environment – needs to inform the UN-2030 Sustainable Development Goals and that working towards the adoption of a new mindset is essential.
We need to replace our current view of limitless resources, exploitation, competition and conflict with one that respects the sanctity of life and strives towards well-being for all, shared prosperity and social stability.
Toward a new worldview
There are no easy answers but, given the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two fundamental changes are necessary if we are to survive in the coming decades: first, recognise the need to value and respect the interdependencies between people, animals, plants, and the environment (i.e., the One Health and Well-Being concept); and, second, shape through lifelong learning a new mindset – – transforming human attitudes: replacing our current view of limitless resources, exploitation, competition and conflict with one that respects the sanctity of life and strives towards well-being for all, shared prosperity and social stability.
Summarised in the Ten Propositions for Global Sustainability, the author challenges decision-makers at all levels – especially political and corporate – to take universal responsibility for the health and well-being of all people and planet – highlighting the criticality of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – ‘to leave no one behind’ and to evolve institutions to serve human, ecological and future needs, much sooner than later.
Evidence based and transdisciplinary – and including contributions from the World Bank, InterAction Council, Chatham House, UNESCO, World Economic Forum, the Tripartite One Health collaboration (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health and World Health Organization), One Health Commission and more – this book cuts across sociopolitical, economic and environmental lines. It will be of interest to practitioners, academics, policy-makers, students, nongovernment agencies and the public at large in both developed and developing nations.
George R. Lueddeke MEd PhD is an educational advisor in higher and medical education and chairs the global One Health Education Task Force for the One Health Commission and the One Health Initiative. He has published widely on educational transformation, innovation and leadership and been invited as a plenary speaker to different corners of the world.