What Is Sustainability? And What Is it Not?

Clouds (original name: Nuages - image by luc.viatour, CC 2.0 licensed)

In their special issue on Earth 3.0, Scientific American explores the concept of “sustainability” and the myths surrounding it as we face an uncertain future. In Top 10 Myths about Sustainability, they observe:

When a word becomes so popular you begin hearing it everywhere … it means one of two things. Either the word has devolved into a meaningless cliché, or it has real conceptual heft. “Green” (or, even worse, “going green”) falls squarely into the first category. But “sustainable,” which at first conjures up a similarly vague sense of environmental virtue, actually belongs in the second.

The article then goes on to cover a number of myths – many related to disinformation-type campaigns about the environment, global warming, and fossil fuels – like:

  • Myth 2: Sustainability is all about the environment.
  • Myth 4: It’s all about recycling.
  • Myth 6: Sustainability means lowering our standard of living, and
  • Myth 9: Sustainability is ultimately a population problem.

Definitely worth reading, if just for the review (for my well-educated readers) and to get a good, relatively unbiased view of some of the issues and realities of sustainability.

H/T to Texas Sustainability for the link.

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