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Defining Sustainable Prosperity


A vision for a sustainable and prosperous space colony from the 1970s (Picture from The Public Domain Review)

Sustainable Prosperity sounds nice, but what does it mean?

In short, “Sustainable prosperity” would come as a result of sustainable development that enables all human beings to live with their basic needs met, with their dignity acknowledged, and with abundant opportunity to pursue lives of satisfaction and happiness, all without risk of denying others in the present and the future the ability to do the same. This means not just preventing further degradation of Earth’s systems, but actively restoring those systems to full health.

This will require a dramatic redirection of the global economy—shifting distribution of wealth, moving away from a growth-centric system, prioritizing the creation of green jobs, and transforming entire sectors, such as agriculture, transportation, and buildings. While this is a daunting task, failure will lead us to an ecologically degraded future where the vast majority of humanity will never be able to be prosperous, but will simply eke out an existence on a hot, unstable planet.