Sustainability is the result of the environment combined with renewable energy. Sustainability is journey rather than a final goal – we will always be chasing sustainability. We will always be attempting to gain more sustainability than we have right now and that attempting to become more sustainable is really the end goal. By attempting to do more with less will always be rewarded – sustainability is more than security.
Sustainability vs. Security
The key difference between this Going Beyond Green method and the traditional security method is that we are not interesting in security, which is limited, but rather we look at sustainability which is more robust and captures what we are all about in Future Schema. Security as it became interpreted in the late Cold War and early in the post-Cold War was the rigid interpretation of whether or not the state organs could withstand an all out attack that involved nuclear weapons. If they could when all else failed, then they were secure and we could advance from our position, though there may be total mayhem or worse around us.
Sustainability came out of the camp that said you may have security but if all is destroyed, then the society as a whole could not be worth saving because the before and after consequences would not be the same. If you posed total anarchy as a secure point, then you could not have security because you had suffered the destruction of everything you hoped to secure. (Imagine that a SSBN survives the nuclear exchange but it has nowhere to put to port because everything it requires has been destroyed.) Sustainability would be required to be able to present even a minimal semblance of the recognizable part of the society. Also, in an world of nuclear weapons, borders were useless, but in a world where some borders were OK and others were wiped out, would that be any better? Would the United States be the United States if it were a dictatorship? Would NATO be OK if North Africa was in chaos? Or the Persian Gulf was finally let loose on one another? These are a lot more likely scenarios than if nuclear weapons were the first and last weapons of the Third World War.
So sustainability rather security becomes the dependent variable and with that, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It also opens up what are the independent variables – environment and renewable energy. Environment is the resource element and becomes of much greater important because all of the resources are environmental resources. The one that is new is renewable energy because the technical issues have posed it as a significant new variable. With the introduction of lithium ion batteries, the sky is the limit for renewable energy and we are only beginning to scratch the surface. With improvements in solar power, wind energy and wave sources and the batteries that we use to support these resources coming down in price and coming up in availability, renewable energy is exciting.
So as we begin to use sustainability as the key dependent variable rather than security, it broadens the whole range of possible variables we can use that did not fit the security profile. Sustainability is lot more robust and varied in its use and because it is a variable indicative of the journey, it will have a lot of areas that are unexplored.