A very intense and challenging piece you might want to ponder as you think about what “sustainability” means  (hang in there for the last half of the article):

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth

Like all of us, I am a foot soldier of empire. It is the empire of Homo sapiens sapiens and it stretches from Tasmania to Baffin Island. Like all empires, it is built on expropriation and exploitation, and like all empires it dresses these things up in the language of morality and duty. When we turn wilderness over to agriculture, we speak of our duty to feed the poor. When we industrialize the wild places, we speak of our duty to stop the climate from changing. When we spear whales, we speak of our duty to science. When we raze forests, we speak of our duty to develop. We alter the atmospheric makeup of the entire world: half of us pretend it’s not happening, the other half immediately start looking for new machines that will reverse it. This is how empires work, particularly when they have started to decay. Denial, displacement, anger, fear.

The environment is the victim of this empire. But the “environment”—that distancing word, that empty concept—does not exist. It is the air, the waters, the creatures we make homeless or lifeless in flocks and legions, and it is us too. We are it; we are in it and of it, we make it and live it, we are fruit and soil and tree, and the things done to the roots and the leaves come back to us. We make ourselves slaves to make ourselves free, and when the shackles start to rub we confidently predict the emergence of new, more comfortable designs.

Kingsnorth describes the current obsession with eliminating carbon emissions as leading to "... the mass destruction of the world’s remaining wild places in order to feed the human economy" as we rush to grow crops for biofuels and wind farms.  He feels "environmentalists" have lost their way.

As I've blogged before - humans are part of the natural ecosystem.  It continues to evolve and change as it always has but the growing population of humans is causing change at a faster and faster rate.  The challenge is to avoid a series of crises and cataclysms and allow for gradual adaptations that preserve the ecosystem to thrive.

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