new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

What does sustainability mean?  RSS feed

 
Lee Einer
Posts: 169
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK, just listened to a talk in which one of the participants was saying that sustainable food production wasn't competitive with conventional agriculture.

And I came to a realization; Those who speak of sustainability as one of multiple viable options don't likely understand on a visceral level what sustainability actually means.

"UNsustainable" means that you cannot continue doing it in the long term, by definition. It doesn't mean you shouldn't, it doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice, it means you can't continue doing it in the long term.

And so an argument that an unsustainable practice produces a greater yield now should elicit a resounding "so what!" from those who are listening critically.

The metaphor I think of is this; If you and I are on the roof of the Empire State Building, and have a race to the bottom, you will win the race if you jump while I take the stairs. But only the first time. For the second and subsequent races, you will be a no-show. Because your approach was not sustainable.

That's what sustainability means. I don't think a lot of people get that. I think in the popular mind, "sustainable" is the new green, and green is the new black, so it's hip to be "sustainable," it's fashionable. Be sure to get it on your tee shirts and bumper stickers.

But the truth is, issues of sustainability are issues of life and death. And I personally am resolving not to be seduced into debates framed to consider sustainability as an option rather than a life-and-death necessity.


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
LasVegasLee wrote:
OK, just listened to a talk in which one of the participants was saying that sustainable food production wasn't competitive with conventional agriculture.



That's for sure - sustainable agriculture can't possibly compete with conventional ag at ruining topsoil, damaging watersheds, depleting aquifers, making people sick, promoting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, etc etc! 
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think many look at a much smaller sphere of consequences than required. 
 
                                                
Posts: 43
Location: 14519
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sustainability, in this Green age has been turned into a sophistry of twisted meanings. I place it on the same level as animal rights , it sounds great till you see the real goal. $$
I was thinking about this morning as I went to work.
These green corporations are only green because they manufacture no more. So they can brag about energy savings and less pollution. While collecting refunds off our utility bills.

The large hog and cattle lots will be hit really hard come this fall harvest with whole corn expected to hit $9.00 bu.
Whole corn 2 weeks ago was $9.00 and change for 50#. This past Monday it was $10.29. You better start finding grains now for your livestock!


IMHO we , which means you and I, will never become truly self sustainable. Even the founders of this country as hard as they tried could not become free from Europe's grubby mitts. Sooner or later you have to make a trade with someone for something.

About the only thing I see as truly sustainable are the weeds in the lawn. No matter how many I pull, they return.

If you bring corporate AG into "YOUR" picture you'll try to compete with them. That is human nature, to do more, better and bigger than the other guy.


You have to set a goal for "YOURSELF". What can I do to make change in my little chunk of the world. What can I do to satisfy MY level of "sustainability".

That’s it, forget about the corporations and the other guys.

Make yourself happy
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22166
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Lee Einer
Posts: 169
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
"Sustainable" is where the goal is "barely not dead".




Absolutely! The test for "sustainability" is, can we do it without destroying ourselves and/or the earth that supports us.

That is a floor, not a ceiling. At least for the foreseeable future, we need to think not just in terms of sustainability but in terms of restoration and revitalization.

Hey, has anyone coined the phrase "restorative agriculture" yet?  If not, I need to run out and trademark it 
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would like to think that I would do a little better than susbsistence farming. If sustainable is "barely not dead" I guess I'm aiming for well fed.
 
Maybe he went home and went to bed. And took this tiny ad with him:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!