A sustainable society satisfies its needs without limiting the prospects of future generations.
Our values determine our societies’ sustainability.
The values we cherish and by which we decide which actions to take determine our societies’ sustainability. Some values focus more on our societies’ efficiency, others on its resilience.
To be sustainable, a society must focus on both. Bernard Lietaer named them "matrifocal" (focused on a societies’ resilience) and "patrifocal" (focused on its efficiency). These terms perhaps seem a little unusual or strange, but Bernard could not find other terms that were clear enough to communicate his meaning:
There must be focus on patrifocal values of a societies’ efficiency; for instance, to wisely use a societies’ resources or to cope with imminent danger like an attack from for a hostile society or of the effects of climate change.
Of course, all societies need to also focus on matrifocal values – otherwise vitally important matrifocal functions such as raising and educating children, caring for the elderly, or community and volunteer activities, would not exist. A society completely lacking matrifocal values would therefore soon collapse.
Actually, as a global society, we are making progress toward this paradigm shift in many cultures.
Compare our grandmothers’ situations in their societies to the positions our daughters have today:
These developments indicate that we are starting to bring out more and more matrifocal values and that the paradigm shift towards a more balanced matrifocal/patrifocal partnership has started. Great start – but much more is required to achieve true balance.