Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sustainable living: an essential not a luxury add-on

‘Sustainable living is all very well, but people also have to get on with living their lives’ concluded Bristol Evening Post feature writer Suzanne Savill’s piece about alternatives to petrol and diesel (‘Think about it’, Bristol Evening Post's Seven Magazine p3, June 7 2008). This is an illogical, contradictory statement since if we don’t live our lives sustainably we will not be able to ‘get on with living’ them. The ‘alternative’ to sustainable living is one that by definition cannot be continued ie its unsustainable.

Her statement sounds to me like a denial of problems that are real, serious, and urgent, like peak oil production and climate change, which are inseparable from soaring food and fuel prices. Best science and economics tells us we have to adjust and adapt our lives, which means fully embracing sustainability’s key concepts: efficiency; renewability; environmental limits; meeting needs; fairness here and around the globe, for both present and future generations.

Sustainability is not an add-on luxury, its an essential – though our government has failed to lead on this, get this message across and make it easier for people to make practical, sustainable choices.