“In anxious anticipation” the name of Aaron Tilley´s sculpture that illustrates our article represents the threaten impact of an unsustainable political system. Paradoxically the pillar message from political leaders is precisely: a sustainable system. The question is: Does the current political system give a framework sufficiently solid to boost a sustainable world? Let´s go to the own concept of sustainability. Among different definitions there are three pillars that gather the essence: social, economic and environment, and its only through a harmonic interaction that we could get to a balanced result. However, sustainability is mainly associated with environmental aspects and left behind the importance of economic and social misbalances. Many of the changes that the world is experimenting as a direct consequence of the advance of far-right populism, demands a reshape of the system also in terms of sustainability. In which denial of climate change is only one aspect of the devastating impact on the rest of this complex roadmap, which is launched in an isolationist message. When we focus strategies around sustainability, is precisely joint action at national and global level and the harmonic combination of the 3 main pillars that shape a holistic approach. That is so, that build extreme defences of sovereignty has an impact on sustainable goals as it demands a global approach that connect with the rest of the world. A work of harmonisation of policies at global level is also part of a sustainable agenda developed by leaders with vision.
The power to agglutinate social-economic and environmental pillars towards a goal of a sustainable system it should be based on political systems that give equal relevance to each pillar in a global context. Is in this sense that we see the inequality of priorities and the preeminence for environmental aspects over the rest. Green business has become a great goal but it could only be considered successful if is it under a holistic analysis on sustainability if not it is only about short-term business profits. Being green is also a matter of boosting sustainable goals as an essential element for a real evolution and changes. “Falling or rolling towards a Green age?”http://bit.ly/2eKDRmD. However, a culture around green is not necessary translated into a sustainability culture. This ambitious goal demands a new and strong step that fully integrates the social and economic pillar. Under current framework in which lack of transparency and accountability is the guideline of political systems (Panama papers, Brexit´s impossible promises, anti-globalist, anti-European Union, etc.) the counterbalance of social and economic pillars connecting with environmental issues seems an important challenge.
A goal of a sustainable system is not only a matter of accepting climate change challenges but also the reshape of current frameworks at political, economic and financial level if not, ineffectiveness would be the result. The crack of the global financial system confirms the “unsustainability” of current codes.
For instance, if there is an official commitment towards climate change and at the same time there is not a boost of policies (subsidies, investment, etc.) there will not be coherence with the original message. A good example of these contradictions is illustrated by failed Spanish government´s policies around wind energy, although with a strong political message in favor. “Wind energy in Spain: raise and fall” http://bit.ly/2gFjKcR
Is not possible to get to sustainable goals if we move through unsustainable political systems. Social and economic pillars need to be addressed by a strong political will and tangible agenda. The role of political leaders play as catalyst of changes and currently are only being part of big campaigns carefully studied at marketing level but without accountability over their proposals. Maybe this is part of a transitional process in which the population needs an emotional, subjective message rather than proven and achievable objective goals.
An “anxious anticipation” is the feeling that best describes the disempowered role of the civil society and the weak but determinate message from global political leaders. Making of sustainability their leading message although without delivering radical reforms of the system.
Without a reshape of the political system there will not be an in-depth counterbalance of social-economic-financial-environmental pillars towards a sustainable system…not only sustainable goals.