Re: Sustainability (fwd) - from Anthro-L (fwd)

Patricia Clay (pclay@WHSUN1.WH.WHOI.EDU)
Thu, 9 Jun 1994 09:37:52 -0400

Anthro-L, after a few crossposts by yours truly. The information
superhighway, indeed...
Trish Clay

Forwarded message:
> From @UGA.CC.UGA.EDU:owner-fishfolk@MITVMA.MIT.EDU Wed Jun 8 23:43:59 1994
> Message-Id: <9406090343.AA28014@whsun1>
> Date: Wed, 8 Jun 1994 23:42:45 EDT
> Reply-To: Fisheries Social Science Network <>
> Sender: Fisheries Social Science Network <>
> From: Alan Finlayson <finlays@GANDALF.RUTGERS.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Sustainability (fwd) - from Anthro-L
> X-To: Fisheries Social Science Network <FISHFOLK@mitvma.bitnet>
> To: Multiple recipients of list FISHFOLK <>
> In-Reply-To: Your message of Wed, 08 Jun 1994 11:39:41 -0400
> This critcal discussion of the concepts behind the feel-good word
> "sustainability" is beginning to yield some very interesting results. Bob
> Graber alludes to something that has been bothering me for a bit. This is
> the curious fact that those who most strongly support some form of
> sustainable [fill in the blank] tend to be also located somewhere to the left
> of center in the political spectrum and yet the ideological foundations of
> sustainability as it is most commonly and rather unreflexively advocated are
> profoundly conservative. Sustainability is an essentially static concept.
> It is about the preservation of the status quo and the prevention of change.
> This seems to contradict one of the very few uncontested claims about the
> social and natural worlds...that they are essentially dynamic and are all
> about change. The really interesting thing in any time series of data...a
> brief laboratory trial, the historical record, the fossil record, the
> geological record, change--the emergence of something new. I
> wonder whether the frustrating inability to come to grips with something
> satisfyingly solid behind the word may indicate that this is not a natural
> concept at all but the last futile gasp of the techno-utopian dream of
> instrumental control of the socio-natural dynamic. Eh?
> Chris Finlayson