The vague concept of “sustainability” is spreading as a cancer around the globe. The term has entered the social lexicon and permeates politics and economics. On some level it sounds positive, but where did it come from and what does it really mean?
Sustainability Equals Environmentalism
Those who have marched under the banner of “environmentalism” have not given up after several decades of failure to force entire populations to “get back to nature”. The weak intellectual support for a worldwide “green” dictatorship is now taking a new tack. The environmentalists and other Statists have found a more appealing banner in an invented concept which utilizes the noun form of “sustain” and have achieved something which sounds much more positive.
“Sustain” in many dictionaries means essentially “to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure”. Who could be against that? For the record, secondary and tertiary definitions include “to bear (a burden, a charge, etc.)” and “to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.” I suggest that in the long run, suffering and bearing burdens will be the principal consequences of “sustainability” policies for most of us.
Sustainability of Definitions
The intellectuals behind the invented concept of “sustainability” needed to come up with a definition of their own to give it mass appeal. What organization better suited to such a Statist purpose than the United Nations? An organization dominated by representation from despotic regimes around the world is perfect for implementing an official definition for a Statist environmentalist policy. And here it is: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Further, the work of the world body has led to the evolution of something called “the three pillars of sustainability” which requires reconciliation of environmental, social and economic “demands”.
Every government in the world is on track at national, provincial, regional or local levels in issuing policy statements on sustainability and the basic pattern of the statements in most instances slavishly follows the pattern dictated by the UN definition.
Sustainability Means Political Power
The goal of the Statists behind the promotion of sustainability is not protection of the earth or concerns for future generations, but rather a lust for political power. Reference to the UN definition is revealing. Who determines the “needs” of present and future generations? Even if the answer to that question could legitimately be presented without reference to individual volition, how could anyone know what will be the priorities of future generations? One only need refer to history to answer that rhetorical question.
Sustainability is a fraud. All it represents is another bandwagon pushed out by the Statists with an invitation for the rest of us to hop on and be taken for a ride.
©Copyright 2011 Edward Podritske