I’ve read a couple of articles in which the writer expresses dissatisfaction with the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ to describe the environmental movement. Colin Beavin (aka No Impact Man) writes, “To illustrate my point, let me ask: is sustainability an inspiring call to action? Do you dream of a life that’s simply ‘sustainable’? Or do you hope for something better, say, a happy life? One that’s full of meaning? Who among us would be satisfied with living a life that can simply be sustained?”
NY Times DotEarth writer Andrew Revkin told me at a recent talk at Rippowam Cisqua school that in his opinion, “there won’t be one word. It will be three words. Something with environment, economy and energy. Something to do with Generation E.”
Green, Sustainable, Organic, Natural have all become overused as words in marketing and therefore are becoming less of the lifestyle challenge and philosophy they were meant to convey. So what do you think the next words or phrases should be? What false uses of these terms have you seen recently? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your thoughts as a comment at the end of this post.
I’ll share my thoughts: just do it. Make some changes. Make sure your neighbors have the information, technology, and support to make changes that will reduce our energy consumption, ensure that our soil and water is healthy for future production, and that we as a community are ready for supporting ourselves to some degree. We can call it green or something new. I love new words. I’m still getting used to ‘Fahrvergnugen’, so I’ll be satisfied a while longer with ‘sustainable agriculture’. And by the way, for me sustainable agriculture implies long-term sustainability for everyone and for nature, so it isn’t just about living a life that is ‘sustained’ but implies incorporating a philosophy of caring about the quality of my daughter’s children’s lives and because I am somewhat educated in farming practices, to me that phrase really brings up images of rich compost heaps and organic food scraps and vibrant, nutrient-dense organic vegetables grown in upstate NY for generations on soil that gets richer every year.