The Sustainability Dialogue
2005-10-06 15:59:44 UTC
Many places, like Cape Cod, have been the objects of our love and attention. We want to live or vacation there, and probably expect that someone is empathically "minding the store." There's a big difference, however, between management and leadership, between visioning and business-as-usual. The Cape's estuarine nitrogen issues and its lake and pond enteric bacteria issues testify to the intractability of Cape Cod's land development and population growth, even in the face of incremental information about a potential Katrina. Technology cannot remediate an over-population "Tragedy of the Commons." I'm interested, in the context of Cape Cod's growing retirement and second-home real estate market, how information about environmental sustainability can supplant the ignorance, the personal illusions, the psychological denial and the general carelessness so many of us embody in our indifferent approaches to public issues, i.e., our community life, especially as it will adversely impact our children and grandchildren. Fewer and fewer of us read or think very deeply about issues outside of our own lives, jobs and the like. More and more of us are becoming rigidly ideological in our stances towards life and other people's views. I do not see a viable dialogue on sustainability solely concerning itself with representations to the choir. I believe that sustainability must result in a different USA ecological footprint or we will experience the kind of collapse, which Jared Diamonf speaks about. Perhaps others do as well. However, we need to dialogue with skeptics and those who are poorly informed about the challenges future generations will face. But, for success at that venture, we need an agreed upon toolbox, and ways to approach the largely indifferent dominant culture that seems less interested; that is, in sustanability's substantive arguments and educational approaches. For example, I believe we could use something like a computer training module, which somehow described sustainability scenarios, and offered life style alternatives that if not correctly negotiated would result in societal collapse. Most folks won't read a 500 page book, but may play a sustainability game, and perhaps learn a little about how gilded consumerism threatens our world, as well as others.
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