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Sustainability: Moderation, or Abstinence?

September 23, 2014

Adrain on Society

Sustainability. It’s a nice little word. It had a perfectly good synonym that wasn’t so bound up in sciency environmental stuff, once upon a time: moderation. “Moderation” is now mainly used to refer to personal sacrifices for the sake of one’s health. Consequently, it has the rather dull conceptualisation of plain spinach and Brussels sprouts on a patternless white china plate. Sustainability, on the other hand, makes us feel like superheroes for picking up the packaged food with the lowest carbon footprint.

People who don’t bother with this small supermarket detour reproduce the old self-fulfilling prophecy: they think, “Why should I bother? No one else will, so it won’t make a difference, I’m just one person, it’s just drops in the ocean,” not realising that a good few billion people are doing the exact same thing, for the exact same reason, in response to that very attitude, thus making a…

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