Charter of Principles
OUR COMMON FUTURE
A STRATEGY FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Heitor Matallo Junior
The future is a common public good that does not yet exist, but has a tremendous potential value. It cannot be measured and it cannot be evaluated in itself. It can only be measured and evaluated by its past, that is, by what we do now. Like water or air, the future may be better or worse according to how we treat it now. The future as well as the public is a mix of tangible and intangible inputs that are the result of the form on how we use natural capital. The “way” in which societies take ownership of the natural capital comprises social relations, structures and political relations between individuals and states and the cultural heritage in which we are immersed.
Human history has produced, until now, a wide range of knowledge, goods and technologies, which because they have been accumulated, we consider them as results of progress. But culture, with its accumulated tangible and intangible assets, also left its mark in this process. Humanity has developed countless activities that resulted in the modification of landscapes, through deforestation and the burning of natural forests, interference in the hydrological cycle and the extinction of plant and animal species, causing deep scars on the planet.
Since the 19th century, many thinkers have recognized the gravity of the situation and expressed their concern with what has since been called the “limits of the planet”. The first to announce an insurmountable crisis was Thomas Malthus. The arithmetic progression of food production versus geometric progression of population growth was the irreducible mathematical antagonism that would lead us to the collapse. In the 20th century, particularly in the last 50 years of that century, other great works were published announcing the physical limits of nature, the economic growth and the exhaustion of models of social organization, culminating in the publication of the Club of Rome report and the First World Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference), both in 1972.