Is Studying Sustainability Selfish?In a way I believe, sustainability is a rather selfish aim to have. I am looking at what I will get out of it; satisfaction, a sense of fulfilment and perhaps one of belonging. But along the way, something transformative will start to happen inside me. I will be looking at the world through an ever-broadening lens, I will be pondering questions of global or national or local importance through a multi-dimensional, all-inclusive perspective. I know I’m fresh. I know I’m young. And I know I may look back after a couple of decades and tell myself, well, for a two year graduate program, that was too tall an order anyway.
A Quest BegunBut the reason I feel hopeful, for now at least, is because the School of Sustainability seems like a wonderful place to start a journey. A journey that may be too bogged down by expectations and ethics before it has even truly kicked off. But a journey that will expand my horizons and feed my curiosity. The unique stand of SoS that I believe could make this possible is that every single person I have interacted with or heard from in the school so far, has been uncompromisingly critical of his or her own stand on the term sustainability.2)Aaron: I’ve written about some of my thoughts on the word Sustainability here and here, and its use in Spanish too. I think this humbleness comes from the nature of interaction offered within SoS. People here have come together from diverse backgrounds. They have made a conscious decision to read literature from across the entire breadth of scientific disciplines and then to talk through it together. Archaeology, sociology, economics, politics, natural sciences, biology, physics, chemistry, history, philosophy and policy- you name it and in two weeks of class we have already touched on aspects of all the disciplines I could possibly think of listing without help from Google.
But is Sustainability a Discipline?This brings me to an interesting discussion from one of my classes just a few days ago: is sustainability a discipline? My instructors for the course seemed to think that it isn’t one. But then, is that such a bad thing? I’m beginning to think it is not. The path ahead may be murky and turbulent, but it’s all part of the game. A game against the odds of non-existence, to live better and longer lives and allow those who have no say, whether they are human or non-human, born or unborn, to do the same.
And to Come Full CircleSo I return to the question with which I began: what is sustainability?
The answer, I quite frankly believe, is anything you may want it to be. It could be an academic pursuit, a frightening notion, an abstract umbrella concept, a fulfilling activity, a spiritual discovery.And that is just as beautiful as it is terrifying.
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