Sustain-Ability?   /   Summer 2012   /    Sustain-ability?

Abundance on Trial

The Cultural Significance of “Sustainability”

Joshua J. Yates

Every now and then a single word emerges from our common parlance to achieve the status of a master term. Such a word gives expression to discrete needs and purposes, but it also provides a perspicuous lens through which to view the ethical disposition and emotional temper of a culture at a particular moment in time. The argument of this essay is that “sustainability” has become just such a word for our moment, deserving closer attention than it has so far received.

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