These days the word sustainability gets bandied about so much, it's turned into one those buzz words that could mean just about anything or nothing.
That's one reason I found this post that listed 10 myths about sustainability so interesting. Because, first off, it actually tried to define the word. As follows (and I quote):
The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up). Dictionaries provide more than ten meanings for sustain, the main ones being to “maintain”, “support”, or “endure”. However, since the 1980s the word sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth resulting from the publication of Our Common Future, by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland Commission after its Chair, Norwegian diplomat, Gro Harlem Brundtland). That report defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This has come to be accepted as the most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development.
In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. Healthy ecosystems and environments provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms. There are two major ways of reducing negative human impact and enhancing ecosystem services. One approach towards sustainability is environmental management; based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science, and conservation biology. Another approach is management of consumption of resources, which is based largely on information gained from economics. Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity.
Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganizing living conditions (e.g., eco-villages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities), reappraising economic sectors , or work practices (sustainable architecture), using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy, or new and affordable cost-effective practices) to make adjustments that conserve resources. Moving towards sustainability is a social challenge that entails, among other factors, international and national laws, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.
Nicely done, I'd say. All encompassing even.
Then ... the post goes on to list the 10 myths. Which include such stunning ideas as the notion that sustainable isn't the same as "green." OMG!
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