/ Structural Barriers
Economic, Financial, and Market Barriers
National and Sub-National
- Lack of understanding about the issues.
- Overwhelming complexity of the issue.
- Lack of knowledge/information: "We don't
know enough" or "we're not really sure" are too
often (as in the case of global climate change) convenient excuses
for inaction. The lack of complete, or completely accurate, knowledge
is not a valid reason for failing to act on whatever we can reasonably
believe is likely to be true.
- Competing issues.
- Differences in perception.
- Acceptance of the status quo.
- Perceived lack of empowerment.
- Perceived inequity.
- Attention pressure. When two interests compete
directly, those of local concern and immediate results win more
often than not.
- Lack of a catalytic personality. Catalytic personalities can facilitate tremendous
change within an institutional structure. Through their actions
they are often able to motivate others. If such a personality
does not believe in the value of certain policies, then implementation
may not be as thorough as if such a person was championing them
among his/her peers.
- Reductionist engineering and professional
mindsets (fallibility and inflexibility of "accepted wisdom"
and ways of doing things).
- Citizens disunited/not supportive.
- Media's presentation of information. The selection of media content can create tremendous
barriers to the implementation of policies. Because the media
shapes public perception and therefore plays a crucial role in
the functioning of democratic systems, failure to present information
comprehensively leads to biasing of the readers, and issues that
are omitted have less chance of becoming part of public consciousness
(Rees and Wackernagel, 1992).
- Disjunction between verbal support and
willingness to take action. Policies
that are verbally supported by the public often fail because
in practice citizens do not comply.
- Inertia of the built environment: The physical fabric of a community - its buildings,
streets, and infrastructure - does not change readily or quickly.
But all these elements do in fact change over time; all are replaced
or renewed sooner or later. The sustainable community does not
seek wholesale or radical overnight disruption of the built environment,
which experience has shown to be costly in social as well as
financial terms. It only seeks to ensure that as change takes
place, it is assessed against sustainability objectives and criteria
and is carried out in a sustainable way.
- Time horizons and conflicting interests: Perhaps above all, the pursuit of sustainability
cannot evade the reality of conflicting interests arising to
a great extent out of wide differences in the time scales involved.
The benefits of a sustainable community to be gained in the long
run are not likely to compensate most people for the prospective
loss of a job, a market or an election in the short run. Working
to shape a sustainable community means neither ignoring or minimizing
such issues, nor abandoning the attempt in the face of them,
but finding ways to address them effectively.
Jennie Moore: What's
Stopping Sustainability: http://www.newcity.ca/Pages/mooreindex.html