Monday, June 13, 2011

Questions surrounding sustainability

Great Blue Heron
An editorial in the Star Tribune, "Is sustainability sustainable?", raised doubts about this word that has  gained great popularity here in the US.  One reason for this increased interest could be that if others in the world lived as Americans it would take 5.3 earths to sustain such an affluent, and often wasteful lifestyle.

The author of this editorial, Greg Breining, makes the point that no society, nation or even planet continues forever, hence, long-term sustainability may never be attainable.  Yet, this argument shouldn't detour us from trying to live in a way that makes responsible use of the environment for the well being of future generations.  If sustainability seems to vague a term, and doesn't help us change our wasteful lifestyle, perhaps we to redirect the discussion to the earth's future inhabitability?

In order for people change their habits, the pain of staying the same has to be greater than the pain of change.  I hope that we will not have to increase the pain threshold too much more before we make the significant personal and collective changes needed to keep our planet habitable for the generations that follow.  The Earth's future sustainability and habitability will require one more "ability"... our adaptability to change.

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