Sustainability, Who?

“Sustainability,” an article included in the series “Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen,” details the relationship between those responsible for climate change, and those who are going to be most impacted by it. “Sustainability” is written in part almost as an anecdote, detailing the effects of climate and health policy on Doña Marta’s life (as a resident of Guatemala). Climate policy at a national level has impacted her life personally, exemplified by the presence of “silver silos,” “goats for milk,” and “surplus corn flour, red beans, and a nutrient powder that came with a recipe for pancakes” brought by US Agency for International Development. This example brings up two major issues with climate policy: it is developed and written by those responsible for the majority of effects of climate change, and is simply pushed on those who are going to be hit the hardest. Additionally, climate and health policy is global (as led by the United Nations). In this capacity, climate and health policy is written as a one size fits all goal, when it is not. 

It would be illogical to assume that all countries follow the western ways of life, and speak the same language(s) found in the countries that do. While English may be the Lingua Franca, it is not the language of a large portion of the global population. By writing our policies in English, and by adapting them to fix what western living individuals do wrong, we are ignoring the languages and cultures of the world. We are ignoring the way other individuals live; how they sustain themselves, how they raise their children, and the values that they hold dear. We need to become a unified world, that has knowledge about cultures, and have respect and regard for every human. We need to take into consideration the opinions and possible solutions presented by the people who don’t have the western way of thinking, who have ideas to help their own communities and countries. One line in “Sustainability” reads, “Sustainability (and, we might add, becoming and emerging, since these terms often go hand-in-hand) may too easily connote the progressive transition of a singular, causal system, leading us toward the project of developing a better future that has long been modernity’s destructive lure.” We need to be inclusive, because one solution isn’t going to fix the variety of problems that have arisen due to climate change. And we need to help those who are going to be affected the most, the most. Because they have less time (they will feel the effects sooner) than we do.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *