Where does sustainability begin? Or rather, what is the absolute starting point of the sustainability crisis that we are facing today?
Having thought about this for some time, I zeroed on Roy Rappaport’s law-meaning analysis. According to him, the greatest challenge that humanity would face would emerge from disconformities between nature’s laws and human-constructed meanings.
Further, he says that we humans live and can live only in terms of these meanings. For example, such a human-constructed meaning is that more consumption would simply lead to enhanced wellbeing. Or growth is development.
Conflict occurs when nature’s laws and human-constructed meanings are not compatible. Which one should tune to the other?
But before that, we should perhaps find out who is in charge. Nature or humans?
Rappaport, R.A. (1990) Ecosystems, populations and people In: Moran, E.F. (ed.) The ecosystem approach in anthropology. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.