A certain unsustainable lack of definition

ancient farmhouse

They can’t define WHAT?

Sustainable.

Lots of people think “sustainable” is most difficult to define. I disagree: it isn’t hard to define – the word is in the dictionary. I looked it up.

Now I will tell you what it means: “sustainable” means supportable; maintainable.

“Sure, you can quote me – and it was the Shorter Oxford… No, I’m not a hero, just an ordinary bloke, anyone else would have done the same in that situation… I don’t know what the fuss is about… Yes, at the back, do you have a question?”

During the Helengrad era in New Zealand, almost every press release emanating from the Beehive was liberally sprinkled with the word “sustainable”. Meaningless bureaucratese or “apparatchik-speak” such as this usually has a short life, but “sustainable” is clinging on – much used, for example, in Phil O’Reilly’s just-published 2012 report of the Green Growth Advisory Group, which mentions some form of the word “sustainable” 67 times. And we still don’t know what the word means. Continue Reading →

Sustainability the new tyrant

Royal Society web site banner

The statement from Professor Hunter includes this comment regarding what we actually do about the problem of climate change:

The mitigation measures suggested for climate change (reduced use of carbon-based fuels, more renewable energy sources, carbon capture and storage, less use of nitrogen-based fertilizers) are all part of a portfolio of approaches that are needed to produce a more sustainable world.

See how the problem of climate change morphs at the end into producing “a more sustainable world”? Why does the focus change? What is the connection between climate change and the notion of sustainable practices, which covers an enormous range of activities, from sensible use of water supplies to mining for minerals to best farming practice to how to supply our hospitals?

Surely climate change is involved in only some of the “sustainability” issue?

Or could it be that a new codeword has been introduced? Sustainability is as ill-defined (or remains as undefined) as climate change. So as climate change dissolves as an unquestioned excuse for socialistic interference in our lives and as the mother of all tax justifications, will sustainability take over? Has it already taken over?
Continue Reading →