Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meditations on sustainability, part 1

"A blog about societal, cultural, and civilizational collapse, and how to stave it off or survive it."

That's the first sentence of the description of this blog, but that's a long way to say what I'm really writing about. The short way is "a blog about sustainability in metro Detroit." Boiled down to its essentials, collapse of a civilization, whether human or Motie, is just the result of failure to achieve sustainability. Consequently, sustainability on the societal scale would be how to stave off collapse and on the family or neighborhood scale would be how to survive collapse.

So, what is sustainability? One could ask Wikipedia, but like all things at the Internet's free encyclopedia, the answer there has become a lot more complex over the past few years. On the other hand, a picture is worth a thousand words.

In detail, that diagram looks like this.

While the above diagrams work in terms of describing sustainability, they don't really show the nested relationships of the three spheres. Instead, this does:

That last diagram shows that economy is dependent on society, which is in turn dependent on the environment.  Without an environment, there is no society.  Without a society, there is no economy.  Those relationships put sustainability into perspective.  They also show that the emphasis on economy above all is exactly backwards.  No wonder we're in trouble.

More on this later, maybe. :-)


ETA: Part 2, or what passes for it, is here.

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