Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I was disappointed to see the Nov. 3 Northwest Arkansas Times headline, $ustainability. Only days after we've experienced the most shocking economic adjustments of the past half century, caused largely by personal as well as corporate greed, this is no time to promote sustainability as the next way to get rich. And most importantly, the implication that sustainability is fundamentally an economic tool is wrong-minded. . . .

"There are two ways to define sustainability. The first is by describing its components. They are 1) ecological or environmental sensitivity, 2) social justice and 3) economic viability. This is the now-famous and increasingly used triple bottom line or three-legged stool that so many companies, organizations and governments are beginning to employ. It's no longer acceptable to leave any of these components out of an evaluation of the performance of a company or program. Economic viability is part of sustainability, but emphasizing it to the exclusion of the other two components leads to, well, unsustainability. Without sustainable relationships with ecological systems and among ourselves, we will not attain sustainability.

"The second way to define sustainability is through the goals, results and impacts of our enterprises. The Iroquois tribes suggested sustainability when they set council goals of protecting the interests of their progeny seven generations henceforth. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission provided the most commonly used definition, meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Financial markets, economic developers and corporate leaders aren't very good at incorporating concepts like happiness, sufficiency and fulfillment into their agendas. They've taken the notion that stockholders and other stakeholders demand maximum financial performance, even if it's at the expense of these concepts. I'm not opposed to good old fashioned, all-American capitalism. But in order for sustainability to take hold, we'll have to balance materialism, commercialism, consumerism and financial success with sufficiency, social justice, intergenerational equality and profound respect for nature"

Nick Brown, "The Real Meaning of Sustainability," Northwest Arkansas Times

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