Humans manipulating the environment around them to get the resources they need is nothing new since agriculture became a large part of civilization. Humans have become too good at that manipulation, to the point where it negatively effects the overall health of the planet. It is difficult to point a finger at the cause of the current climate crisis, as discussed last week. Whatever caused is, solving the crisis involves sustainability.
“Sustainability” recognizes the nuance of the word and its shortcomings in other “markets” that do not speak English. The business of pitching sustainability to cultures and is difficult because of its lack of direct translations. Breaking tradition or habit for sustainability when the term is not even understood is a difficult process for those who must do the changing. That is exemplified by Marta, who needed to put all her crop into large silos instead of protecting them with chemicals and pesticides.
Another side of sustainability that is lost in translation is that of the global scale. Marta does not really understand the bigger picture because of her more isolated language cultural barrier. The cultural barrier on the global scale is more difficult to deal with. For example, cultures that are working only to survive will be more difficult to convince to change their habits in the name of sustainability.
The idea that more powerful and developed parts of the world should take leadership in the sustainability may be a more difficult than some anticipate. As the people in Marta’s community demonstrate, they are trying to protect their industry and themselves from “encroaching markets” that are typically dominated by those bigger powers. Measures taken that are meant to deter larger powers from sweeping up their economy may not involve sustainability. Regardless, the statement “the world is not innocent” (Maldonado) applies to the situation, where when change needs to be made, it comes with a cost. In the case of sustainability, the cost may be a culture, a view, or a person’s way of life.