Ifund wishes to contribute to the development of new energy, food, water and waste disposal systems. Systems that are more sustainable and operate at a smaller scale than is currently the case. Restoring the human dimension.
The sustainability imperative
In the decades ahead, we will need to find ways to provide more than 10 billion people with sufficient energy, food and water. It is self-evident that the way we have tackled these issues in the past is unsustainable. Energy resources are rapidly depleting, pollution and emissions are inducing extinction of species and the world is warming up. If we want our children’s grandchildren to be able to enjoy life on this planet, we must accelerate the transition to renewable energy resources, produce food at a far lesser footprint and find a much more sensible way to use and consume clean water.
The imperative of smaller scale
Another ifund objective is to contribute to more regional and local solutions. The substantial scale on which systems operate in today’s globalised society mean that key discussions of important issues are played out far beyond the line of vision of many of us. The human dimension has disappeared. We can see that in food production, in water provision and energy generation, as well as in our financial system: money. One of the most important motivators for most of us, the dimension by which security and success are measured, the measure in which fundamental societal choices are made, is simply money.
The way in which systems like this work is not immediately obvious. Moral considerations between cost and benefits are difficult to weigh because the costs are far away and invisible (I have access to energy, but at the expense of pollution / I have access to meat products, but at the expense of rain forest / I’m being paid a bonus, but that costs someone else a packet of money / I’m making more profit, but at the expense of lives in China). We would not make this kind of trade-off if the costs were upfront and visible.
Moreover, the dependency of these large systems is a significant risk for communities of people. If a powerful neighbour decides no longer to supply oil or gas, that has major repercussions. If a large multinational decides to buy up large areas with water resources such as springs – or a public water facility is privatised – the risks are significant. And modified food products, of which the origin is not known, is not sustainable and sometimes a public health hazard. And if the current financial system malfunctions, the provision of everything is endangered, because we depend on the free circulation and perceived value of euros and dollars.
Restoring the human dimension does not mean that everyone has to produce their own food in their own vegetable garden and nurture their own chicken (although chicken are of course very welcome). Neither does it mean that everyone needs to install their own windmill or solar panel, or purify their own rainwater. The human dimension is broader than that: the human dimension has an overarching view of the neighbourhood, the city, the region. But its horizon is not so expansive that it can monitor the whole world.