Technology and Sustainability: Changing Our Perspective - UNEP Perspectives No. 13

United Nations Environment Programme (2014)

From the evidence of our senses to the evidence provided by our science, we know our current global society is unsustainable. We also know that technology is at least partly responsible for our predicament, just as it will be part of whatever future we face. Neither denial nor despair is an appropriate response to the situation. At such a critical juncture, however, we cannot afford to make poor decisions about the technology we develop and use. If we do not understand what has gone wrong and why up to this point, we risk undermining the decisions we make in our attempt to create “the world we want.” We know a sustainable future requires changes in how we all live, regardless of where we are or in whatever circumstance. To make the necessary changes, wisely and in time, however, first requires us to change our perspective on technology itself. This paper outlines that change in perspective and how technology, values and civil society are inevitably intertwined in shaping whatever world in which we will live beyond 2015.