Sustainability Trap

Published on March 31, 2024, filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

We—you and I and everyone—are responsible for this planet and everyone’s well-being.

That includes consuming and polluting as little as possible, i.e., to live sustainably.

So far so good. (It does seem important to confirm that we all need to choose to adjust our behavior once we choose to survive on this planet.)

However, none of us is able to consume or pollute much.

Left to myself, I would probably be able to boil and then use water from the Lérez river, but then I likely drop dead because I’d eat the wrong plants (if any at all).

Likewise, there’s no oil around me to pollute the ground or the air or the future, by producing something that doesn’t rot within hundreds of years. I wouldn’t even know how to find or what to do with oil.

Consuming or polluting may be really hard to do for you, too.

This is the most interesting area where the idea of putting sustainability on every individual fails (one other being that spreading required sustainability knowledge doesn’t scale).

In most cases, we can only consume and pollute if we’re offered something to consume and pollute.

These offers need to change.

What we’re offered should consume as few resources as possible—and pollute nothing.

Until then, yes, we need to take responsibility for this planet and everyone’s well-being.

But we need to avoid the trap of missing where resources are being consumed and polluted.

Smarty-pants over and out.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!