Friday, February 6, 2009

Slouching Towards Sustainability

I think it is imperative that we think seriously about what it will take for us, as a planet, to become sustainable. Most importantly, I think it is absolutely necessary for those of us in the United States to think about our impact on the rest of the people of this earth and the planet herself. There is no way we can continue as we are, it is irresponsible, selfish and impossible for us to sustain. The earth is a finite planet. There is no amount of technology that will make the lifestyles we have now sustainable. We are robbing from the future, and we are closing our eyes to that reality.

I think that a large part of the population of our country has an itchy feeling in the back of their head that says to them, things are not right. I also think a large part of the population believes there is nothing they can really do about it. So, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend it's not happening. Some of us buy organic, bring recycled bags to the store and buy "green." However, we can not buy ourselves sustainability. There are no amount of "green" products that can make our current consumption patterns okay.

It is going to take an extreme shift of priorities to reverse the current trend. There are those that say we were only sustainable at the hunter gatherer stage and that is our future. I am, however, not so bleak about our prospects. I do think it will take a major paradigm shift. We will have to become responsible for our impact. It will not happen overnight and it will take the participation of everyone. We can no longer condone overconsumption. Those in their giant SUV's should be looked down on, not admired. Taking the bus or walking should be emulated, not scoffed at. Trying to grow your own food should be a responsibility, not a hobby. Going out to eat should mean taking a dish over to potluck at a friend's house. Recycling should be almost obsolete because we are not buying gross amounts of items with tons of packaging. Instead we will be buying locally from craftspeople we know. We will be learning how to fix things instead of disposing of them.

The future does not have to be full of deprivation. It should be full of things that really matter. Good, fresh food grown from gardens. Face to face interactions with friends. A pride that comes from creating something good instead of buying things for our closets. These are the things we should aspire to. Not a vacation house in the south, three cars and a house full of stuff we don't even know how to use.


  1. I could not agree more. It's not really about the new "green" gadgets or "greenwashed" products. It's about coming together and connecting. I love potlucks and wish I went to more. Yes! More potlucks for me please!

  2. Thank you for commenting on my blog. I wish we were more self-sufficient but it does take a lot of time and energy. I hope we have come to a good compromise, producing what we can (veg, fruit, small amount of meat, eggs) and buying what we can't (cereals and dairy mostly). Keep dreaming the dream. One day you'll realise that everything on the table, apart from the salt/pepper, is from your garden!