These widespread changes unfold at different rates in different regions.
By the year 2032, some shifts are already well on the way to a new, more
stable level of functional completion, while others are only beginning
to take off. Although there have been setbacks, these have not been major
or widespread. The reason for this smooth passage lies in the nature of
the process which, while somewhat chaotic and unplanned at times has been
driven from the grass roots up with strong support at higher levels. The
degree of participation between governments and society, and the ongoing
evolution of basic beliefs have been instrumental in allowing governments
to pursue policies that would not otherwise have been possible. Examples
are the establishment of land and marine sanctuaries and major shifts
in the constructive use of tax breaks and penalties.
|'New technologies play a big role, both as catalysts for, and
in response to, many of these changes.'
Furthermore, as businesses, NGOs and governments, working together or
apart, achieve notable success, they push for action to encourage others
to follow. The evidence of these accrued benefits helps governments in
taking action, as they make it very difficult for those who are opposed
to them to argue against the feasibility of meeting new targets. And as
formal actions are taken, they act as a ratchet, keeping the advances
from slipping back.
The interlinked sets of changes that have occurred during the first three
decades of the new millennium are clearly part of a broad societal transformation.
Although no one would argue that sustainability has been achieved, there
is a clear sense that the world is moving in the right direction and there
is no turning back.