By Shepherd Bliss
“Sustainability” has become a buzzword. But what does “sustainability” really mean? One definition is that it requires a triple-E bottom line—economics, the environment and equity. However, this word sometimes is used to “green-wash” and promote things that are not sustainable. Genuine sustainability must be evidence-based. But language can be used to conceal rather than reveal.
Lets explore what is currently occurring in the small town of Sebastopol, Northern California, as a case study. In 2001 a salon was formed called Sustainable Sebastopol. It engaged in various activities and had an email list with over 2500 posts, covering a range of sustainability issues, including neighborhood toxics, car-free days and auto alternatives, renewable energy, local organic food production, and appropriate land use development.