The Three Ps: People, Planet and Prosperity

Carmen Gomez

Sustainability isn’t just about the environment, it’s about people too. We can’t get to environmental sustainability without getting people on board; i.e. without meeting human needs. But the thing is that the here and now appears to matter more to humans than long term impacts, especially when in crisis.

The here and now in people’s daily lives is already inscribed in their memory, and it takes a lot of will power to deviate from what the mind has computerised, even though it might help the environment not to do so; comfort and expediency come first.

So the end game for any given government is finding a way that we can all have a good life, within the limits of nature. Easier said than done. The trouble is that people have become egotistical, and this makes them think that their actions are the result of a need which is not really there in the first place. Most families in Gibraltar have at least two cars per family plus a couple of motorbikes. There is never enough space where to park them close to their address, so they either have out garages, or private parking spaces; plus anywhere else where there is room and parking is free. When free parking is not made available, people in general throw tantrums and take to social media and have a go at the government. I have heard people say things like “next time I won’t vote for them;” I despair when I hear this, because I realize that for some, their priorities are up the creek.

Pleasure or greed

People are no longer prepared to tighten their belts for the good of their small nation. Let Government sort it out! I recall when Sir Joshua Hassan asked the people back in 1983 to cut down their spending on leisure activities in Spain, given the negative effects this was having on the local economy! If someone turns round to say that the government is landing future generations with a huge debt, because of measures taken due to a deadly virus that was seemingly going to wipe most of us off the face of the earth and in order to help the economy; they will then whinge and say that the government has been reckless!