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Is “sustainable” sustainable?

February 13, 2012Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on Is “sustainable” sustainable?  It was bound to happen, and as a “word guy” (English major, former journalist, teacher of writing since before I can remember) all I can say is “About time.”

“Sustainable” has become one of the most common buzzwords in academic and policy circles that attend to issues of food, water, cities, energy, and the like.  But what does it really mean, how is it measured, who sets the definitions, etc., etc., etc.  Too often, the word becomes an umbrella to describe whatever policy or action the writer likes and “unsustainable” is a club to attack with.  Or else, the conversation becomes incredibly technical, intricate, and inaccessible.

But the piece that is linked at the front of this post offers a refreshing view:  what is we changed “sustainable” to “regenerative”?  Try it, see how the change of a simple word alters what and how you think about transportation, energy, or, for our subject, rivers.

Let me know what you come up with!

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