SUSTAINABILITY vs. REGENERATION

Let’s start off with a little brain-teaser:

“SUSTAINABILITY” – think about this term for a couple of minutes, try to find words you connect with it, try to detect the meaning you personally associate with it. Now tell me, is it just waste separation and organic eggs for you or are you looking beyond the horizon, regarding this term as the fight against climate change and the abuse of fossil resources?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?!

The reason for my question is simple but profound: Relying on an article by Herbert Girardet, I realized that the term “sustainability” lost its meaning and impact long ago. Every single person shapes his or her life a little sustainable nowadays, be it deliberately or rather indirectly. Thus the term embraces so many meanings that its influence almost evaporated. The major goal of my post is to define the term I am writing about, since my readers are supposed to know the core of it all. I will try to figure out a new way to refer to a sustainable lifestyle without including normal actions and behavior – let’s try to find a NEW SUSTAINABILITY!

THERE IS MORE IN IT THAN MEETS THE EYE

“Sustainable development … meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This quotation originates from the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and basically outlines the central meaning of the term sustainability; the core of it which morphed and blurred by now until unrecognizability. Speaking of which, if we search for synonyms of this term, it gets clear that it is heading into the wrong direction: maintainable, supportable, endurable.

IT’S NOT AS SIMPLE AS PRESERVATION

Just think about it: is that really what we want?Do we simply intend to make the world STAY in its current condition, already wounded and doomed? Girardet argues that “regenerative” is what we need nowadays. We do not simply want to preserve our planet how it is now but rather restore it and go back to its beginning. Considering this, I will from now on try to head into another direction – away from daily sustainable claptrap towards the subject of reversing mistakes and wrong behavior of centuries.

If you’re interested in it – Herbert Girardet will be speaking at the Schumacher Lectures at City Hall in Bristol on 15 June. I will provide further links after the 15th.

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