In the comments on last night’s post – which is still generating discussion – I mentioned that I see a difference between “green” and “sustainable”.
Sustainable living is driven by common sense. Green living is driven by ideology.
Sustainable living will often cost less – economics are a factor. Green living will cost more it can require paying a premium to maintain ideological consistency.
This caused some confusion. Let me make some distinctions between the two:
- Decisions that are green consider only the environmental impact.
- Green priorities exclude all else. The triumph other considerations on the basis of a higher moral order.
- Green ideology pursue a net gain for the environment – things becoming greener. More trees and undevelopment (eg removing human traces from nature).
- Green practices mean using as little as possible in terms of “natural resources”.
- “Plant more trees” is a green mantra.
- Sustainability is a philosophy of ensuring something can continue in the same manner in a reproducible or reusable fashion. Stuss’s example of using cloth nappies is a great example.
- Sustainability does not pursue a net gain for the environment – but no net loss. Building a lodging in a National Park is ok – provided there is not significant damage to the surroundings.
- Sustainable practices seek to replace what is used where possible.
- “Leaving only your footprints behind” is a sustainable mantra.