The Hypocrisy of Sustainability

The Giving Tree: A Cautionary Tale for Tu B’Shevat ...

In “Sustainability”, from the series: Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen, the publication brings up the valid point that “Sustainability is an English Word.” And with that in mind, its clear to see that not only is “Stustainability” a word derived from the English language, but more importantly, the fact that it is western in nature and ideals. This is exactly what the publication discusses.

There is an irony to the word Sustainability. It is an ideal from a culture that most defies it. We preach ideals of Sustainability to the point that we almost force it upon others, others who often meet those ideals better than ourselves. This is what I saw in Marta’s story, the far reaching effects of the western ideals of Sustainability. From her giant silver solos, to her U.S. supplied nutrients, western society had manifested this ideal, forcing it upon others.

However, the problem with this ideal is not in its own nature. In fact, its much more about the hypocrisy of our actions with it. We agree that the world needs to be more sustainable as we see the issues it causes everyday in western society, but instead of forcing ourselves to change it, we’ve decided other parts of the world must do it first.
Of course, in the western world this kind of assimilation is not a new idea. Most prominently, this idea was formed in the eyes of religion, in this case mostly Christianity. However, this kind of assimilation is much different, not just in nature, but rather in the fact that we assimilate others to what we don’t do ourselves so they can delay the problem for us.

We agree that there is a need for change so much to the point that we fund a massive amount of resources in order to advocate for it, yet we hold ourselves to a double standard. To me, this is the real kicker. We force others to change so we don’t have to, and I see no other word for that than hypocrisy.

Picture from the book, “the giving tree”

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