Commentary: Sustainability talk is so nonsensical

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I get tired of talk about sustainability from corporations and environmental groups with their highfalutin language. But I was at a BASF Agricultural Solutions conference about two weeks ago with a subtopic of “Innovation for Agricultural Sustainability.” At that conference, the sustainability panel made sense because it was real-world discussion by people who understand agriculture.

Then something comes along like the announcement by Worldwatch Institute that is over the top. The first sentence of the news release mentioned “enhancing institutional capacity” and I almost screamed.   

At the upcoming Rio+20 summit from June 20 to 22, political leaders will embark on new measures to achieve sustainability by enhancing institutional capacity. In particular, the summit will seek to improve the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other institutions in order to enhance the global community's ability to achieve sustainable development,” Worldwatch announced.

Worldwatch explained that “UNEP was conceived at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment as the anchor institution for the global environment. It was envisioned as the global body that would provide leadership and encourage partnership between organizations, nations, and peoples to enhance environmental policy and protect future generations.”

Worldwatch concludes by explaining it has the answers to improve UNEP with a fairly simple statement. “While there is no single solution that will ameliorate all of the challenges UNEP faces, by improving its authority, connectivity, and financial resources, the organization could enhance its ability to be the leading environmental institution on the global stage.”

Gag me with a spoon.

I’m sure that governments of the world are really going to solve sustainability and environmental purity with legislation. No, it is going to take real-world actions and simple language discussions among those actually involved in business and agriculture. Private individuals who earn a living in the environment and protect the environment are the real decision makers to drive sustainability, whether it be in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world.


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