File under “Things that make you go ‘hmmm…. huh?'”

One of the forums that I belong to has been talking a lot about environmental issues, lately.

Unsurprisingly, the topic of “sustainability” came up.

What was surprising was a particular forum member’s response:

“The problem here is most people misunderstand the nature of the Sustainability movement. It presents itself as having modern, progressive solutions to current problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. . . it’s highly decentralized and is a smokescreen for a hidden agenda. . . It’s agenda is to turn the clock back to the early 1900’s in terms of how people lived, again not what it really was but how they think it should have been as some sort of Malthusian utopia.”

I’ll spare you the rest of his diatribe. In summary: He goes on explain that there is a core group of people who are controlling this movement, and that they are against any technologies that “provide material abundance.”

I was flabbergasted. So I dashed off this quick response:

Hmm, interesting.

I’d not seen so much vitriol around the word “sustainability” until relatively recently. I wonder what has suddenly given a number of people the idea that “sustainability” is a smoke-screen for something sinister?

Is it the hullabaloo around nuclear power since the fukushima incident? Are people suddenly all reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear ( Which is as long and drawn out a straw man argument as I’ve ever seen)

For what it’s worth, I just started a blog with the purpose of helping people develop successful and sustainable lifestyles in today’s world. It’s about personal, community, and environmental improvement.

You’ll never see me advocate going back to an idealized 1900s world. That’s not possible–and to hope for it is delusion.

Are there a few deluded but loud voices out there arguing for that? Sure.

Is that the majority of us who are working to create a way of living that won’t implode on itself? Absolutely not.


I should have put together a list of examples of how technology is increasing sustainability and material abundance.

I may still do that, if the conversation continues.

I’d start my list with this fabulous comic by the always-awesome The Oatmeal. (Warning: There’s some adult language at that link.)


It may read a bit like an advertisement, (the artist really likes his Model S) but it’s funny and it shows a little piece of how technology, abundance, and sustainability can go hand-in-hand-in-hand.

That’s what I call progress. That’s a real move toward sustainability, not some Luddite dream of the past.

A past which, by the way, wasn’t sustainable, either. It was still a downward spiral–just a slower one.

So forget conspiracies. And forget returning to 1900. It can’t happen.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. . . but you can get smart about what you ask the genie to do.

Where do you see technology going? What amazing new invention will forever alter the way we interact with the environment? Vertical farms in robotic skyscrapers that grow our food for us? Super-capacitors that replace the need for resource-intensive batteries?

Even better, what existing technologies can we use, right now? Why wait for someone to develop something amazing. What steps are available to us today? (Aside from the awesome but ridiculously expensive Model S… )


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