I listened to a stimulating key note address at the ICF UK Conference this week given by Sir John Whitmore. He posed a number of challenging questions which cut right to the heart of our western society as it stands today – on the brink of economic meltdown. We are at a crossroads (are we ever not?) in human evolution as well as in the future direction for our planet. The relentless drive of consumerism, which has built up a head of steam since the start of the industrial revolution, and which has reached laser like momentum in the last 20 years of the IT revolution, has reached a defining moment. We have raped and pillaged the energy reserves of our children and grandchildren, and left them with an apocalyptic dilemma. Can Consumerism and Sustainability ever be Compatible? When we emerge from this period of recession and global economic depression, what do we return to? It would be a huge mistake for investment bankers, stockbrokers and short-sellers to pick up as if nothing had changed. Lessons have to be learned. It may well be that a global recession is exactly what we need right now. A huge wake up call that brings us all up short and allows the planet to take an enormous intake of breath. It has been running on empty for too long, and the dial needs re-set. The world has an enormous opportunity to adjust course and embark on a new journey. One that considers the future, that is driven by bright visions of a sustainable future and not by short term hedonistic greed. The new generations, the children and the young adults of the world are our best hope. Those of us who have been seduced for too long by the endless promise of our consumer existence need to listen and learn. We’ve had our go. We failed. Move over, and let a new world order begin. The Sustainable Economy is about to give birth. Nurture it, care for it, and it may just be able to save the planet.