Tue, 7 Jun 1994 14:10:32 CDT

"Sustainability" is a word bandied about a good bit of late.
Archaeologists are beginning to show the unexpectedly far-reaching
environmental impacts of even small-scale societies long ago. I wonder
if there ever has been a truly sustainable human adaptation, even in
terms of physical environment. In terms of social environment, it is
all too clear that living in small societies at low densities was a
strategy doomed by surrounding societies whose numbers, and
resource-utilization, made them far *less* sustainable in the long run
than were the small societies they overwhelmed. If there is such a
thing as a sustainable cultural adaptation, how would we know it when we
saw it? And how could we guarantee that it would not be destroyed from
outside? I question, then, the attainability, identifiability, and
*survivability* of sustainability. --Bob Graber
PS: P. Clay's post makes sustainability an even fishier concept than
I had thought.