I fear that I veer off into the political and economic and scientific and more speculative, less useful musings too often here. Actually, no, I like that- but I started this to keep me honest about being sustainable, and I’m not paying enough attention to that part itself. For instance: do you have any idea what I mean by “living more sustainably”? I really don’t. If you have an idea, let me know.

Writing about all the other news and articles and events is helping me make sense of all the different aspects that might go into sustainability, plus it’s way more interesting than me talking about what I do all the time. But trying to be sustainable and not deciding what that means is intellectually lazy. So, onward.

I was serious about collecting ideas from you all, by the way. What is a sustainable life? I’ll start: it’s examined, and it allows for 8 hrs of sleep/night. Or at least I hope so.

Speaking of unsustainable, the Italians have presented us an elegant counterexample to the sustainable life- no one’s picked up the trash in Naples for a couple of weeks, so the city streets are filled with garbage. Add an inefficient bureaucracy, organized crime, horrific stench, and military intervention, and presto! You’ve got toxic fumes from the mobs setting fire to garbage piles in the streets, and hung effigies of government ministers on the telephone poles. Cue Dean Martin:

When you walk down the street and the garbage is steaming, signore,/

‘Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli,/

There’s a morass…

5 Responses to “Alignment”

  1. 1 Kestrel January 8, 2008 at 12:31 am

    What are the odds on the mob making a big move to clean things up, gaining political capital?

    Anyway, to answer your question, I’d say living sustainably is defined as increasing the overall efficiency of one’s lifestyle to the point where one’s resources (artificial and natural) are re-used in some way or another, severely limited (annulling entirely isn’t possible IMNSHO) the necessity for further- and further-reaching mining/processing/refining/harvesting/etc. more of said resources.

  2. 2 virescent January 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    I agree that it’s about reducing my intake of stuffs (she typed, her mouth full of sandwich), but there’s also a part where I need to be able to live reasonably. I’d reduce my intake most by dumpster-diving and residing in a lean-to somewhere inconspicuous, but that’s just not going to work. I’d have to spend all my time gathering food and fending off predators, and why did we invent civilization in the first place, then?

    I think there’s something in the idea that I should consume only in proportion to what can be replaced or safely used by all 6 billion+ here. Since I live in the US, that is currently impossible- living any sort of involved life in the first world requires way more resources than living anywhere else, and it’s not reasonable to think that natural resources can support us all living this way. So, there’s a problem. I need to average somewhere between subsistence and “McAmerican”.

    Jared Diamond wrote a piece for the NYT about this last week- ( It’s about consumption factors, and is a bit interesting, but not exactly shocking or provoking (“in order to balance world consumption, developed countries must _consume less_. gasp!)

  3. 3 Kestrel January 8, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Oooohhhhhhhhhhh. NOW I get it. Less, not MORE.


  4. 4 millie January 9, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    reduce, reuse, recycle

  1. 1 Six Month Summary « Virescent Trackback on March 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

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