Monday, August 1, 2011

Sustainable development is a contradiction in terms

"The word sustainable should never appear in an act of parliament. It is a weasel word, an adjective not qualifying a noun but lightly dusting it with vague political approval. Sustainability is the sort of Blairism that gave us downsizing for sacking and humanitarian intervention for war. The only sustainable meadow is a meadow. Sustainable development is a contradiction in terms. It means development." (Thanks Laila)


1 comment:

Gavin said...

I agree on the thrust of this. On the other hand, I've just spent some time interviewing some British farmers who are aware of peak oil and other resource crises and are actively trying to find ways to make their farms more resilient. Some of the changes they want to make, more example installation of renewable energy, require a lot of capital. But farming is not lucrative enough to earn them enough capital.

The other thing they could do to raise capital is build a few houses on part of their land, but they complained that UK planning law is so restrictive and is so weighted against any kind of development in the countryside that they are unable to.

One of them said they wanted smarter planning law that allows development which enables rural livelihoods for a working countryside. At the moment it does not seem to do that. Of course I'm not saying the localism bill is the answer (I simply don't trust the Tories to have the best interests of small, ecologically-minded farms in mind). But if we want to see people able to return to the land, to return to food production, then at the moment UK planning law needs to change.