Sustainability Resolutions for 2009

New Year’s imminent arrival is always a time to think about and make resolutions for the coming year. Take a moment and think about your own list. I am sure you will find almost everything is a sort of promise to stop doing things you consider to have negative consequences, even if the promise sounds like, “I will be nicer to my boss.” Now think more deeply, and ask yourself why did I choose this list of things. Almost all, although you may not use these words, will fall into the category of bad habits, and in some cases, habits that are not only ineffective in their intended results, but… Read More

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Greenwashing Winners

The Greenwash Brigade’s (a regular feature of [Marketplace](http://marketplace.publicradio.org/)) favorite [choices](http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sustainability/greenwash/2008/12/2008s_greenwashes_of_the_year.html) for 2008. My first choice from their list: > Fiji Water’s new green campaign: Yes, shipping water in container ships from a pristine aquifer in paradise is somehow green. [Really](http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sustainability/greenwash/2008/06/fiji_water_by_the_numbers.html)? Here’s another brand, [Bling H2O](http://www.blingh2o.com/), that would certainly qualify for their list.

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Telling It Like It Is

Bob Herbert, without mentioning the word sustainability, has a great year-end message. What he proposes is a step in that direction. > I’ve got a new year’s resolution and a new slogan for the country. > The resolution may be difficult, but it’s essential. Americans must resolve to be smarter going forward than we have been for the past several years. > Look around you. We have behaved in ways that were incredibly, astonishingly and embarrassingly stupid for much too long. We’ve wrecked the economy and mortgaged the future of generations yet unborn. We don’t even know if we’ll have an automobile industry in the coming years. It’s time to… Read More

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Outsmarting Evolution

As human beings, we are like other living creatures, the product of evolution. Whatever we have become, we are the end of myriad adaptations. Language was perhaps the most important evolutionary innovation in our phylogenetic history. With the tool of language and our cognitive skills we have produced technology that has brought us up to and into the modern age. With all its wonders, technology exacts a cost–the loss of our innate humanity–all the attributes that make us so different from the complex machines that increasingly come to dominate our lives. Now comes a new technological threat– the use of psychopharmacological drugs to enhance performance. Judith Warner [writes](http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/opinion/27warner.html?ref=opinion): > What… Read More

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Is It Too Late?

Cardinal.jpeg

Starting to write this post triggered some seasonal thoughts. Winter has come to New England. The snow has been coming down for a couple of days with only a few hours of respite. A few towns only about 20 miles away have been without power for over a week, victims of the last big ice storm. More cardinals than ever are feeding outside the kitchen window. I am thankful that we have no place to go today other than outside to shovel. The beauty and travail, all mixed up in this storm, remind me that sustainability is not some thing, but only a possibility that always shows up amidst a changing world. Change is not something to avoid or oppose, but to understand. We must build and govern our social, technological, and economic system so that they do not collapse or move into regimes where that possibility recedes or even disappears. But then. . .

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