Event / Phenomenon

“Sustainability”? – free content

It seems that hardly any action, product, article or broadcast these days can be perceived as credible if it does not contain the new buzz word. Be it financial, environmental, socio critical or even just down to municipal-political news – the word is omnipresent. Every move we make or consider has to be sustainable in order to pass the judgment of being worth it. Sustainable is the new gold standard for the as of a yet not implemented social credit score.

To avoid being perceived as reckless, wasteful or mind you, “not social”, citizens and companies alike are increasingly becoming entangled and woven into the spell to claim their actions and behavior as being sustainable. It is the universal ecological “woke serum” for industry, finance and politics in order to foster the perception of being a good steward of this world and society.

The research on the word’s etymological background quickly unveils its latin root in the word “sustinere” – which is derived from tenere – hold, comprehend, keep, support. Going from there you find explanations like: “pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse” or “able to be maintained or kept going, as an action or process”. Quite telling is that the word was apparently abandoned during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, when it was more understood as just being “bearable”.

The big game-changer for the word happened in the mid 1960’s, when it was salvaged by the environmental movement. In the late 1980’s the word “sustainability” was semantically modified by the United Nations Brundtland Commission’s Report – re-framed as the infamous “sustainable development” it was later then passionately criticized by both environmentalists and social economy advocates. 

Seeing the signature of the UN below the word salvaging process does not surprise since the organization itself does not stands for self governance, economic or personal independence and so it is fitting that they created it. 

Nonetheless, the creators were successful and the word is now widely used and adopted by the entire “save the planet crowd” – not even those who advertise with the word truly know what it means. Judging on the organizations and people that use it so broadly, it should rather be understood by its old meaning – “bearable” – describing more the people applying and using this word. It might even be more fitting if we add an “un” to the word, making it “unbearable”. 

How can they offer a valuable solution since those mental paupers have not yet understood the cause of the problem. To give critiques of mine some food for thought, here is what Friedrich Georg Juenger once wrote:

As technology progresses, it devours the resources on which it depends. It contributes to a constant drain, and thereby again and again comes to a point where it is forced to improve its inventory and to rationalize anew its methods of work. Those who deny this, claiming that it is the wealth of new inventions which made the existing apparatus obsolete, are confusing cause and effect.” 

I guess there is not more to add to it and if some people do not understand the process that is at play, they should reconsider their perceived calling to better the world and rather stay home, because the world would be way more “sustainable”(bearable) without their ill guided cause.

Wishing all readers a “sustainable” New Year 2022.

Copyright 2022 by Dirk Heinicke