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Sustainability- A Brief Final Summary

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Thundery wintry showers


The other two posts are a bit in-depth, so here is an overall summary of my views- extending to sustainability generally and not just sustainable transport.

In short, I am 100% behind the concept of sustainability, but the key is that in order to be sustainable, we have to make some sacrifices and determine what is "necessary" and what isn't- and this is wherein my main objection to conventional "sustainability" policies lies.

I think of "unnecessary waste" as primarily practices that we can easily replace at little or no cost to anybody, e.g. leaving appliances on unattended, arranging meetings that involve making 4 business journeys when we could achieve the same thing using only 2, etc. I believe that restraining energy use should target those sort of practices- the ones that have little or no irreplaceable economic or recreational value- as the ones we need to abolish.

Conventional sustainability policies, for me, involve too much use of the viewpoint that recreational/social use of energy constitutes "selfish, unnecessary waste" and that business-related use of energy is okay because "we all need to work". I believe that this approach risks squeezing most of the "fun" aspects out of modern Western society. Recreational car use is of course the primary target, but the argument can be applied to a range of other recreational activities that consume resources, ranging from eating pies and burgers to playing computer games. I think it's imperative that we see human pleasure as something we need to help preserve within a sustainable society as far as possible, as well as economic productivity and mobility- I don't fancy living in a "functional" sustainable environment where we have limited scope to enjoy ourselves. Instead we must seize the opportunity to create a sustainable [i]and happy[/i] life for future generations- we may well only get one opportunity for it after all.

Thus, for those of you who have seen Parts 1 and 2 that relate mostly to transport, a lot of the common themes there also extend across my general views on sustainability.
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hi ian,
check out my post in the Serious Discussion section, 'can we sustain the earths population explosion?' i think it has a lot of bearing on what you are saying here and i would like to hear your views on it


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