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How the world is – is one thing. How we perceive the world is quite different. Our worldview can make all the difference.

Let’s take sustainability models as just one example.

The triple-bottom-line sustainability model has been quite popular for the past two or three decades. If we use the terms planet, people and profit, the triple bottom line model has sought to balance these aspects as if they were independent of each other.

The idea then is sustainability happens at the intersection of these three independent aspects. Sustainability is said to happen when the concerns of the planet, the concerns of the people and the concerns for profit are all taken into consideration. There is a sweet spot so to speak.

I propose that this worldview does not reflect reality. Planet, people and profit are not independent of each other. In fact, people depend entirely on the planet. Profit is something for people, who depend on the planet. So instead of 3 overlapping circles, rather we have a circle within a circle within a circle. So, profit is a subset of people which is a subset of planet.

This is where I get my planet and people-first approach. In 2024 we’re in a situation of a climate crisis and the 6th grade mass extinction happening on our planet. If people are to survive and hopefully thrive, care for our planet is paramount. If we are to have continuing profit, I propose that care for people is also paramount. Thus, the type of projects and developments we undertake in our profit-making activities must be ones that take care of the people and the planet – first.