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Erik Rasmussen

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Do You Want to Live in Sustainia?

Posted: 10/27/11 12:45 PM ET

Imagine a world where you can live your life to the fullest. Where quality of life is what matters. A desirable place. A place you would want to go if you knew about it. Sustainia is the new sustainable world where applied green technology and sustainable solutions are well established and actually are making a better life for its habitants. In Sustainia, we breathe fresh air, drive cooler vehicles, live in smarter houses and eat healthier food.

Sustainia is designed by 14 international companies and 6 global organizations as a response to the growing no man's land which is currently characterizing the climate change challenge. The gloom and doom stories seem to have lost their power, so have the many fruitless summits and international meetings. This deadlock has long proved that we need a new to create a new momentum, a new vision and a new language on climate change. This has motivated General Electric, Microsoft, IKEA , Cisco, Philips Lighting, IKEA, DONG Energy, Climate Group China, WWF Microsoft, Cisco and Philips to form an innovative alliance aimed at challenging the way we perceive, communicate about and act upon the sustainable future.

The result is the book The Guide to Sustainia, which was presented at the Green Growth Leaders conference Take Lead in Copenhagen on the 13th of October. The book breaks with the common climate language and leaves the gloom and doom scenarios behind. Instead, it presents a new way of communicating about sustainability and tries to motivate change by letting people in on what exciting possibilities a sustainable future holds.

The guidebook reveals the great potentials hidden in the transformation to the sustainable society. It documents that sustainability is not about selling your car, limiting showers, eating garbage and not having any fun, but actually adding value in terms of smarter solutions, improved environment, better products, etc. It thus presents a future that is appealing, engaging and attractive. It is a future where the cities have been improved to provide citizens a better quality of life; we have installed solar water heaters on our buildings (water heating accounted for 17 percent of the energy used in buildings) there are kilometers of bike lanes, we drive in hybrid taxis, grow our food indoors in vertical farms, our harbors and rivers are cleaned, and there are numbers of trees, parks and gardens. Also our homes have been improved to cater to our needs for daylight, fresh air, adequate lighting and a comfortable temperature.

It presents an attractive picture of a new sustainable future that is not a utopia, but a concrete, fact-based proposal on how we could live a better life in 2020 if we implemented the green solutions needed and which are already available. Technologies such as organic soil restoration, hybrid cars, water heating, co-firing biomass, waste recycling are just some of the technologies available today that could be used to create Sustainia. By implementing these technologies at a cost of 1 percent of global GDP, we could ensure a reduction of CO2 emissions at the level required to stabilize climate change.

Sustainia is an exponent of a new way of communicating, that can hopefully foster a shift in the rhetoric into one that is focused on concrete and easy actions, positive images of the sustainable society and the benefits of joining the pathway to Sustainia -- that reach out to the public, consumers, suppliers, employees and politicians through a new way of communicating about sustainability.

The Guidebook to Sustania is published by Monday Morning's Project Green Light which is an alliance of prominent communication experts, international companies and organizations.