BSN32: Sustainable Development and Radical Changes for the UN: A Conversation with Marc Buckley
Play • 1 hr 37 min

Show Summary

Get ready for a riveting and enlightening conversation with Marc Buckley, a distinguished leader in sustainable development and food reform, who has played a critical role in shaping the UN's climate efforts. In this podcast, Buckley offers insights on the pressing need for reform in the United Nations, particularly in climate negotiations, and the obstacles we face in achieving sustainable development goals. He highlights the urgency of a new economic model that prioritizes the well-being of all, not just a select few. Buckley delves into the failures of the UN, COP27, and Paris Agreement and the adverse effects of politics on the climate crisis. This podcast is not just informative but also a powerful call to action. With over 30 years of experience, Buckley provides actionable guidance on how to take action toward a sustainable future. So tune in and discover how we can make a meaningful impact and create a better world for ourselves, our planet, and our future generations!

Learn More:

●     Website:

● YOU App:

●     Digital Magazine:

●     Show Host Website:

●     Youtube:

●     Podcast:

●     Link Tree:

●     Facebook:

●     Twitter:

●     Instagram:

Full Show Notes

In this episode, Marc Buckley shares his story of transformation and highlights his mission of ecological economics to address human suffering on a global scale. He details his educational background, his long professional career that includes writing the UN SDG manifesto, participation in various UN collective systems, and a quick overview of his books. 

As we're heading into COP28 this year, Buckley sheds light on what went wrong in the previous huddles. He highlights the significance of the Club of Rome, whose original climate report from 1972 serves as a guiding pillar for the UN's climate efforts. He believes the Club of Rome's work provides a crucial framework for understanding the climate crisis. Looking ahead to COP28, he expresses cautious optimism, noting that the region understands the impact of food shortages and the need to limit growth. However, he also acknowledges the controversies surrounding COP27, which he deems a complete failure due to a lack of action and wasting valuable time.

There's an urgent need for funding to achieve sustainable development goals. While the figure of $95 trillion required to meet these goals set out in the Paris Agreement may seem daunting, Buckley explains that in 2015, we spent $89 trillion on high-carbon emission scenarios, such as gasoline and diesel cars, which could have been redirected towards sustainability efforts.

Buckley points out that the UN is simply a platform to unite member countries and cannot force them to take action on climate change. The current system of negotiations is difficult, slow, and inefficient, with progress being impeded by politics and a lack of political will. There are politics both within and between countries, making it challenging to find a way forward. He highlights the negative impact that leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro have had on the climate agenda, derailing progress and creating further division. He also discusses the economics of the climate crisis, noting that the current economic system is not working and is contributing to the issue. He highlights the need for more discussion and education on economic models that promote sustainability and notes that sustainable organizations have shown resilience during hard economic times.

He further elucidates the need for a new global mission beyond economic growth and globalization. The purpose of existing as a society should be to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense and disadvantage for anyone. However, our current models are obsolete, and we need to move towards a new model of economics and resource management. Buckley also touches on the fact that many experts are only focused on one facet of a complete system and that we need to bring together leading experts, thought leaders, polymaths, and philosophers in a fellowship to solve problems independently. He believes that the world needs a different model of cooperation and that the current model of global competitive systems is flawed.

Our conversation also delves into the idea that we need to shift our focus from reductionism to promoting equality so that no one has to worry about food, shelter, and other basic human needs. We discuss the concept of global hectares per person and the need for good stewardship of the Earth's resources. Ultimately, humanity needs to break free from the old ways of thinking and move towards a world that works for everyone. Buckley believes that we are still stuck in the Stone Age and that we need to evolve with the exponential rate at which the world is changing.

To achieve this, the world needs symbiosis and collaboration, just like any other living system. Applying models of cooperation in business, organizations, and our daily lives will lead to greater prosperity. Buckley warns that civilization models that rely on hierarchy and divide humans into classes, such as farmers at the bottom and a few elites at the top, always lead to collapse sooner or later. He advocates for three pillars of sustainability: economics, innovation, and consciousness of regenerative futurism. He believes that we need to understand economic models inside out, as they affect us, and be able to speak about alternative models, such as circular economics. He calls for innovation that solves human suffering in grand global challenges and stresses that humanity needs to make six major transformations (digital transformation is just one of them) before achieving sustainoscence.

In the end, Buckley offers insight into the concrete steps we can take to make a difference. While there's no easy solution or silver bullet, a desirable future lies within. We all need to ask ourselves what the world that works for everyone looks like for each of us. Only when we have this vision, can we figure out how to get there as fast as possible.

Key Moments:

●     [0:02:24] – The journey and mission of Marc Buckley

●     [0:09:22] – The latest updates on the global fight against climate change

●     [0:18:07] – Marc's thoughts on the UN and the current state of the climate negotiation process

●     [0:22:02] – Why the latest IPCC report from the Club of Rome is so important and what it means for the future of our planet

●     [0:27:27] – The problems with the UN

●     [0:31:12] – The fractures in the global economic system and how we can address them to create a more sustainable future for all

●     [0:44:10] – How to bring all parties together, independently of the UN, on this one-point agenda of sustainability

●     [0:59:16] – Dive deep into the concept of the Human Condition and the symbiotic regenerative model for humanity's future

●     [1:13:52] – NASA-funded Collapse Study and how we can learn from our past mistakes to create a more resilient future

●     [1:21:16] – Concrete steps we can all take to make a difference in the world


The future comes before history.

We need prevention; we don’t need to wait until people are dead and suffering to finally apply for [Loss and Damage] money.

We wait until the last minute, and then we spend up when we absolutely have to.

We don’t have time to wait.

We need to act, and we need to act like our world is on fire.

In a great time of crisis, we need leadership that’s not a traditional consensus-based leadership.

Life is life; we’re not in a pilot project anymore!

I think, in some respects, we are still stuck in the Stone Age; we can’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones.

[Sustainability] is not about whether we have to do less or eat less so that the rest of the world has more; it’s about equality for everyone and everybody.

We get so caught up in how that we lose sight of why.

As long as there’s terrible poverty and terrible suffering, there’s always the possibility that it will happen to me.

Symbiosis is the biggest and the most innovative ecological phenomenon we’ve ever seen in our world before.

In our living systems, one plus one never equals two.

Without symbiosis, we would not be here as species.

It could be a hobby to be rich, but it cannot be a part of our everyday economics.

Broadband is not our silver bullet.

Before past or history came the future.

Once you have the vision, you can figure out how to get there as fast as possible.

Further References:


Marc Buckley

Connect on Instagram

Marc Buckley Website

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change


Scale by Geoffrey West


Operating manual for Spaceship Earth by Buckminster Fuller

Global Hectare

The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt


The Joys and Dilemmas of Wealth – Study

If you found this podcast valuable, rate, share, and comment. We’d love to hear your feedback!

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu