Increasingly, mariner sees the word ‘sustainability’ popping up in news releases and articles. This is a good sign. It is raising the political thought that classism, elitism, nationalism and identity politics don’t really solve the problems of today’s world.

Were it not for the presence of a global pandemic, failing international economies and global warming, the idea of sustainability may not have emerged so quickly. Thinking in the abstract, as Guru is wont to do, the world may not be able to support oligarchy much longer. The liquidity and business investment value is needed to assuage true hardship experienced by everyone else in the world.

Beyond economics, global warming and pandemics don’t recognize borders or class distinctions. The politics that must deal with these subjects requires sustainability – by everyone. Sustainability is a unification word; it means the solution is more important than individual nations, individual cultures, corporations or individual political movements.

For several decades nations have been trying to deal with global warming by any means that will work other than sustainability (none do). The prime example is the fossil fuel industry dodging sustainability at every turn because its investment value will diminish greatly as the world population insists on moving to more sustainable energy resources.

As to pandemics, if properly funded and given direction, science will slowly make progress in dealing with pandemics from the perspective of sustainable practices, economics and politics. For example, it is not a sustainable behavior when items like face masks suffer price gouging under the not-so-sustainable concept of supply and demand.

One can hope sooner than later that war and its destructive conclusions will be seen as a solution that does not support sustainability.

Sustainability is an updated word that no longer means just surviving on a homestead; it also means surviving on a planet. Perhaps finally the United Nations may come into its own as THE organization responsible for sustainability. Goodness knows it has been trying.

Ancient Mariner


3 thoughts on “Sustainability

  1. What one considers ‘sustainable’ depends on the timeframe one expects to sustain a given practice. On a homestead, perhaps the lifespan of the younger reproducing generation – on a planet, perhaps the lifespan of the dominant resource-exploiting species?

    At any rate Earth, as a high concept, has maybe a billion years until the gradual brightening of the Sun renders liquid water impossible here regardless of how much coal we burn.

    It’s not really a question of human survival (and we have survived much worse than Covid-19, with medical technology comprising no more than leeches and priestcraft), but if we can’t transcend exploitation to a meaningful post-planetary civilisation, I don’t think we can assume a successor race will eventually give terrestrial life another shot at post-Earth propagation.

  2. Reply to Ben’s comments–Are you saying that we avoid the problem of sustainability by leaving earth behind–since it has a short billion year lifespan. If we can transcend exploitation we can have a meaningful civilization on another planet, but if we can’t deal with exploitation (which is a political problem) it is not likely a successor race (of humans, on earth?) will have the means to leave earth which is our only chance for long(er) term survival as a species? Just trying to parse your last sentence. Oh, for the days of homesteading–or no–maybe that was exploitation of the wilderness. Oh, for the days of hominids?

  3. I walk timidly among intellectual giants! Mariner wrote the post in the context of twenty-first century circumstances. The combination of human aggression and planetary behavior has been a destructive relationship ever since we evolved from the hominids. The classic political-economic theories that have prevailed (capitalism, socialism, etc.) do not accommodate sustainability. Sustainability is yet another unknown phenomenon to add to global warming, artificial intelligence et al.
    As to the survival of the species, I defer to Neil deGrasse’s frequent comment that we forget about asteroids, an event with much higher probability than waiting for water to disappear.
    Thanks for responding.

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