15/7/2011: “A Resilience-building Holistic Approach to SD Based on Communities”

A resilience-building holistic approach to SD based on communities

 In the face of the environmental, economic and social crises that increasingly threaten the world’s future, new models of development are needed that contemplate the whole system and identify the leverage points to address a constructive change. Solutions have been given to many of the threats, but the lack of a systemic approach that integrates the three pillars of sustainable development is being a significant obstacle to achieving sustainable development globally. Understood holistically, sustainability is a multidimensional model of development which lies within a harmonious relation with all ecosystems and places the improvement of the human condition as its primary goal. It is a challenge to those understandings of sustainable development which proclaim change while leaving untouched the basic structures of the present society. This paper pursues the realization of a systemic approach through a bottom-up built social transformation that incorporates the principles of sustainability from its grassroots. Emerging socio-economic concepts such as wellbeing-focused approaches, community-based developments, resilience-building or all the movements around the new economy (including local economies, Green Economy, New Economy 20+20, De-growth, inclusive business and co-management) are reflected and gain sense in the approach proposed in this analysis: a development based on a network of sustainable neighbourhood communities that provide each of themselves with both pro-environmental and not specifically pro-environmental services, from the whole community to its members, peer to peer or from members to the whole community. Community-specific enterprises with social objective merge to manage these services. Such approach may foster the internal cohesion of communities, the wellbeing of their members and the resilience before the impacts coming, while reducing the pressure on global natural resources. Replicable, flexibly designed community-based social business models can be generated to be applied globally. Communities are therefore proposed as the basic unit for promoting a systemic approach to sustainable development. History shows that revolutions use to follow only emergency crises. Even in that unhappy event, it is still necessary to have an alternative vision ready to present when crisis conditions provide a receptive public.


Alejo Etchart.

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