University degrees designed to train leaders for tomorrow need to be reconceived within the sustainability paradigm to displace the nearly universal ideology of “growthism” – the unreflective assumption that political leadership should always and everywhere devote itself to the prospect of continuously expanded economic growth.
Schematically, Oxford’s prestigious and well respected PPE Degree (Philosophy, Politics & Economics), needs to be transformed in our new context into another kind of PPE Degree (Physics, Philosophy & Ecosystems). Other similar degrees around the world designed for those going into careers of public policy need likewise to move away from their fatuous and juvenile assumptions of continuous and infinite growth toward a more mature and survivable understanding of sustainability within the limits of a finite ecosystem.
Successful leaders should be assessed from this perspective not by how much fossil carbon they propose to extract, consume, burn or release but instead upon the opposite measurement of how much ambient atmospheric carbon can they cause to be fixed and permanently sequestered. This needs now to become the dominant principle for determining the worthiness of effective public leaders in years and decades ahead.
The change of direction that will be required in the transition which our leaders will need to make is presented in summary form in the short film: