If you listen carefully to any conversation about the environment you will notice people using the word "sustainable" as if it is the golden-standard for measuring outcomes. This is consistent between environmental dialogue spanning from hard-core environmentalist, average eco-minded consumers, and professional conservationists. Because "sustainable" is used so regularly, no one is questioning if it makes sense to aspire for sustaining the status quo. Let's take a brief moment to deconstruct this important conversation and be mindful about the impact of the words we select.
The current state of our environmental degradation is alarming and no-one is questioning the role that humans are playing in accelerating this loss. I believe that all humans innately have the desire to save the world as I have never met anyone who is a champion of climate change, environmental pollution, habitat loss, or the extinction of species. In general, humans are hardwired to be benevolent when it comes to environmental matters, however, people are often so far disconnected from the natural world that they are unaware of the consequences from their daily actions.
The inconvenient truth of our environmental health is sobering and our dialogue today will result in the future actions that will either save our planet or lead to further degradation. With the future of our planet on the line, and no-one being a champion for the current state of our environment, this begs the question, why do we feel good about "sustaining" this system? In my opinion the current system is fucked. The status quo is destructive and if we try and "sustain" this, we are going to destroy the earth.
I encourage you to consciously remove "sustainable" from your environmental narrative. This word sucks and is equally as destructive as continuing our current rate of ecosystem destruction. Instead, let's use words that accurately characterize our desire to heal the earth, to rebuild our ecosystems, and to restore habitats. For me, I will replace "sustainable" with "regenerative" because this truly captures the spirit of environmentalism. Let's aim to leave this world in better conditions than what has been created by our forefathers.
The innate power of words is not to be taken for granted. Please help shift the narrative from "sustainable" to "regenerative". Let's work to reverse climate change, rebuild ecosystems, and create a net-positive footprint on the earth. Why would we shoot for anything less than that?