Global Q&A: ‘Do you see a tension between sustainability and progress?’

By Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
October 10, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015

Progress can bring sustainability or progress and sustainability needs to be balanced is what Epoch Times reporters from Spain to New Zealand discovered when they asked locals:

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Luis Angel Quintana, Madrid, Spain (The Epoch Times)

Madrid, Spain

Luis Angel Quintana, 28, Student

I think progress can bring us sustainability. But for me, sustainability does include social and human factors; for example, progress isn’t sustainable when fields are used to grow corn to make biofuel while people are left to starve. With science, technological developments, and a strong will, we can manage living in a sustainable world; but we cannot exclude a human and social conscience.

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Jeff Gardner (with his son Taggart), New York, USA (The Epoch Times)

New York, USA

Jeff Gardner (with his son Taggart), 36, Cancer Researcher

There’s no conflict whatsoever. I would say that progress should, if anything, be able to enable better sustainability. And you look through history, every improvement we’ve made is either stretching our resources further or transitioning from one resource to another, so I think as we educate ourselves that it’ll become more apparent to more and more people that part of our progress forward is switching to new resources or finding new ways of using old resources in a much more sustainable way. I’m a scientist … they’re fundamentally linked; I don’t think that they can exist without each other.

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Erika Malmros, Lund, Sweden (The Epoch Times)

Lund, Sweden

Erika Malmros, 38, Social Department Manager

Even if they are opposites, in that sustainability and progress work in opposite directions—-today exists, in the form it is today, due to previous progress.

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Verónica Paredes, Lima, Peru (The Epoch Times)

Lima, Peru

Verónica Paredes, 32, Sales Representative

I don’t think that there is any conflict; everyone thinks differently, while some live just for today and do not want progress, progress is necessary for society because there are more needs. We are tied to technology; the downside is that when everything is easier we do not think of people in the future, and machines displace people, leaving no jobs. This will create chaos.

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Laudemirson Lopes Sena, Santarém, Pará, Brazil (The Epoch Times)

Santarém, Pará, Brazil

Laudemirson Lopes Sena, 63, Retired

I believe that there is no conflict. Depending on the role that you play, can you reconcile what you do with what you get? Everything we receive is from nature and there is no progress if we do not reconcile what we get with the goal that we want to achieve. The problem is that sometimes people fail to realize that if you take too much, a moment goes missing.

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Trishna Advani, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (The Epoch Times)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Trishna Advani, 19, Environmental University Student

Yes, there is definitely tension between sustainability and progress, but this can be resolved. For example, a developing country would aim for rapid progress in order to match up to the developed countries. In order to achieve that, they carry out mass production of goods, for which they need huge amounts of energy. They opt for cheaper methods, such as coal, which is not sustainable, as the burning of coal releases large amounts of carbon dioxide. In the case of developed countries, it is possible to carry out sustainable development, as they have the financial resources to do so. Whereas developing countries do not have enough finances to carry out such expensive ventures.

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Stuart Giles, Hamilton, New Zealand (The Epoch Times)

Hamilton, New Zealand

Stuart Giles, 44, Landscape Supplies Owner

We can only progress as far as it is sustainable. If your progress outweighs the sustainability of what you are doing, then you get an imbalance and the whole thing will fall over, and this is a formula you can apply to most things.

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Dimitris C. Milionis, Athens, Greece, (The Epoch Times)

Athens, Greece

Dimitris C. Milionis, 52, Visual Artist/Painter

The evolution and growing model is the progress from a previous point with either a biological or social reference, measured by the time of its last point of sustainability, an ongoing struggle of balance and survival. When the model reaches any new peak in its evolution, the forces that object to its growth as progress build a temporary tension and suppression that evolves into clashes until a new direction of progress is sustained and overcome. This situation is necessary to provide new equilibrium and balance that presses against the forces and provides new progress. This is where the need of sustainability is temporarily replaced by progress as an action of defense.

Look for the Global Q&A column every week. Epoch Times correspondents interview people around the world to learn about their lives and perspectives on local and global realities. Next week’s global question: “What’s the toughest job you can think of?”

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