I would probably have used the term in Ishmael if it had been current at that time. Its meaning is plain enough, “able to be sustained indefinitely.” The term “sustainable development” comes close to being a contradiction in terms, depending on what you mean by development. No development that depends on petroleum, for example, can be considered sustainable beyond the next forty or fifty years (if that). Usually the real meaning of “sustainable development” is “more nearly sustainable than what we have now.”

ID: 455
posted: 29 Jan 2000
updated: 29 Jan 2000