(English) Multisolutions for a sustainable system

Source : L’Echo
Translation : Club of Brussels

There remains only a decade to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and avoid the word effects of global warming. However Belgium has opposed voting for the climate law which demands it takes up its international obligations. Thus it can be said that political quarrels and the economic interests of certain lobby groups violate our fundamental right to a functioning planet and those of generations to come.

A change of direction

Global warming is not the only environmental issue caused by human activity. There is also the destruction of biodiversity, dwindling ressources and environnemental pollution. These environmental emergencies demand demand a profound paradigme change, from the mode of production to consumption. The way of ‘running the household’, the economy, has to be questioned.

The environmental problems can be added to a list of societal issues that are as crucial. The job market has become more precarious and inequality is on the rise. The historical breadth of accumulated debt has made the financial system very vulnerable. The aging population, the changing nature of work, the renovation and construction of sustainable infrastructure bring forth large costs. The list is long.

These historical challenges cannot be resolved in a liner manner (one problem = one solution). We will have neither the time nor the money to do this. In contrast, we propose multiple solutions, systemic, that respond simultaneously to multiple issues, finally creating an ecosystem of solutions accelerating the learning curve and positive impact.

Instead of prohibiting, disincentivize

Based on the slowness and the hypocrisy of the politicians who are responsible, we imagined the measures that would need to be implemented. Based on our research and the expertises of our various profiles, we have built through collective intelligence several systemic solutions.

We suggest, for example, the introduction of a ‘green GDP’ as a new indicator of a country’s health and to lead politics in consequence: taxing ship fuel, plane fuel and other harmful components as well as production and importation relative of their carbon footprint. By building up on this powerful basis that is the voluntary modification of relative prices in order to internalise indirect effects – disincentivizing instead of prohibiting – allows renewable energies to prosper. For example, disincentivizing company cars will make a ‘mobility package’ more attractive.

In regards to agriculture, what appears to be the most important is to diminish subsidies of the PAC dedicated to chemical industrial agriculture and to support projects that favour local biodiversity, agro-ecology and the rehabilitation of degraded land. One of our experts developed in regards to this a model of local production of vegetable proteins. Experimented already in a distillery, re-planting as part of a crop rotation system demonstrates a return that is twice as effective as intensive agriculture. These methods create a useful and sensible labor. Produce very rich in protein could also directly feed the cattle and aquaculture industry.

Moving upstream

The reimbursement of preventive medicine by social security is equally a multiple solution. The free sessions and coaching aimed at individuals and groups on risk prevention will be both a social and financial gain : decrease in future costs linked to curative healthcare, better mental and emotional health, lessening of stress and burn-outs and improvements in employment.

Other examples of propositions: provide a cultural service of 6 months for those not working – after their studies – to facilitate their orientation, social inclusion, and to improve the innovation and the creativity of the youth, reduce isolation or even facilitate multi cultural and generational interaction, all while improving the skills and futures of job seekers. An annual reminder for the other generations could also be possible, with an emphasis on those 50+.

All of these propositions are systemic ; they resolve multiple problematic issues, costing less while being more effective. This is why we think that this methodology must become popular and used by policy makers.

But… There is an essential requirement for this to succeed: the projects have to be led by people who are authentic and in service of common progress, people who have begun to really work on their personal conscience. Otherwise everything will ring hollow, and at the first attempt the projects will stall.


Workshop participants : Sarah Zamoum, Theophile Lienhardt, Julie Verhulst, Christian Ghymers, Michel de Kemmeter, Michèle Pasture, Antoine Arnould, Benoît de Bellefroid, Sven Van Kerkhoven, Bruno Arnould, Thibault de La Motte.

Posted in Articles for L'Echo, Publications.