Monday, March 14, 2011

Beyond Sustainability

A few days ago, I decided to drop the reference to sustainability in the heading of my blog. I simply can't identify myself anymore with a political mantra that has lost almost all meaning. In agriculture, the field where I am professionally involved, for ten years already ALL governments and the whole agri-business from Monsanto over Unilever to Wal-mart and Tesco pay lip service to "sustainable agriculture", and the more it has been embraced the less meaning it has today. It all started with the Bruntland Commissions report, Our Common Future which tried to convince political leaders that there is no contradiction between economnic growth, social development and care for the planet. I write in Garden Earth:

“What is needed now is a new era of economic growth - growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable.” writes Gro Harlem Bruntland in the foreword to the report. We learn that it is possible to combine economic growth with social and environmental development, not only that; the message is actually that we need more economic growth to deal with these challenges. And a free market is best situated to deal with the issues. Many ecological activists, and even more social activists, question this. The environmentalist see economic growth as a main driver for continued excessive exploitation of nature, and social activists doubt that the free market can handle the increasing gaps in the world. Both question how more of the same could cure the problems they caused.

Economic growth always trumps social development or environment protection. So from now on I will speak about: Beyond Sustainability. I did check the net for the term and see that others are already using it, some in a similar way as I do, some in the same way as PB speaks about Beyond Petroleum, i.e. just more green-washing

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