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Green Fatigue: But Sustainability Has Staying Power

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

July 2008

“Green” claims now abound, on every product and service under the sun, but the mind-boggled and cash-strapped consumer is left not knowing exactly what is the best choice and fearful that none of the little things are going to make one bit of difference, given the magnitude of the long-term problems we face. “Green fatigue” is upon us. According to Paul Hawken, environmentalist and best-selling author, “It’s a century-long process…even people inside the [green] movement have the same feeling – burnout.”

There’s little argument that “green” is now mainstream, as shown by this year’s list of green titles on bookshelves. Small steps have become big business: green is now “Big Green.” But we also know that “green” is not working. Both carbon emissions and ecological footprints continue to increase across the developed world. The question is, how do we cut through the chatter to reach people with strong long-term values-based messages that can withstand the downdraft of currently faltering economies?

Beyond green, shaping a sustainable future is the most pressing issue of our time. Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, has developed a sustainable decision-making process (registration required) that utilizes sustainability as the framework for institutional planning. In this model, mission, core values and operating principles, including the sustainability commitment, are the tenets that can consistently inform decision-making that leads to lasting results.

Given the importance of well-planned, long-lived land development infrastructure to local, regional and global sustainability, the SLDI Knowledge Project is dedicated to the network orchestration of holistic, triple-bottom-lined results for all stakeholders through cooperative and open-source technology. Sustainable land development is an intentional paradox.

Your participation and comments are welcome.


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