There really is only one kind of sustainability

June 25, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Tim Murray for this essay.

Despite our best efforts, there are persistent and common misunderstandings about the rudiments of overshoot and sustainability. Four come to mind:

1. The exponential function. Albert Bartlett is right about that. I can’t get people alarmed by lets say, a 2-3% annual growth rate. Like the magic of compound interest, your town can double in population in a mere generation at this deceptively incremental pace.

2. Efficiency paradoxes. People don’t understand that efficiencies, outside the context of a steady state economy, by making things cheaper only provoke more consumption and growth. (eg. Jevons Paradox, Khazoom-Brooks postulate).

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