. . . Global warming had a mortal weakness. It was testable. Sustainability does not suffer from the same fault. It need never meet reality. No matter what any individual or organization does, its activities can always be labeled “unsustainable.” This is because there is no definition of what sustainability is. It always means just what someone claiming to be more eco-holy than thou wants it to mean. True sustainability is a goal ever disappearing into the distance, one which can never be reached, but which must be pursued with ever increasing vigor — and funded by ever burgeoning taxes.Sustainability is basically a license to continually order people to make more and more concessions to the "environment."
Like global warming, sustainability will “save” a planet which is in no danger of disappearing. It is, however, perceived as a Herculean task, one which only a government seeped in progressive ideology can undertake. So not only higher education, but government is embracing sustainability.
The interesting thing about sustainability, as Peterson and Woods point out, is that unlike the rest of the environmental movement, it did not start out as a grassroots effort. Instead, it was pushed from the start by John Kerry and Teresa Hinez, who at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 conceived of the group Second Nature, whose stated purpose is to “transform” higher education. . .
George Will has a good column on the campus fad: The ‘Sustainability’ Craze Is Nothing but an Empty Pose
. . . Like many religions’ premises, the sustainability movement’s premises are more assumed than demonstrated. Second, weighing the costs of obedience to sustainability’s commandments is considered unworthy. Third, the sustainability crusade supplies acolytes with a worldview that infuses their lives with purpose and meaning. Fourth, the sustainability movement uses apocalyptic rhetoric to express its eschatology. Fifth, the church of sustainability seeks converts, encourages conformity to orthodoxy, and regards rival interpretations of reality as heretical impediments to salvation.And just to get this one out of the saved heap: Sustainability: A new college fad with fangs
Some subscribers to the sustainability catechism are sincerely puzzled by the accusation that it is political correctness repackaged. They see it as indisputable because it is undisputed; it is obvious, elementary, even banal. Actually, however, the term “sustainable” postulates fragility and scarcity that entail government planners and rationers to fend off planetary calamity while administering equity. The unvarying progressive agenda is for government to supplant markets in allocating wealth and opportunity. “Sustainability” swaddles this agenda in “science,” as progressives understand this — “settled” findings that would be grim if they did not mandate progressivism. . .
. . .The first sustainability program was established at Arizona State back in 2006 and by 2015, 475 colleges and universities had created certificate and degree programs in the field. But exactly what is this field?Coming soon to a Federal government near you (in fact, it's already there).
Traditionally, academic disciplines conveyed a body of knowledge to students: chemistry, biology, history, literature, foreign languages, philosophy, economics and so on. But (and again like identity studies), there is no body of knowledge regarding “sustainability.” It’s just a farrago of beliefs, attitudes, and grievances centering around the general notion that most humans aren’t living the right way and unless we make drastic changes, we’re doomed.
Wood and Peterson argue that sustainability is not really an academic discipline; rather, it’s an “ideology that unites environmental activism, anti-capitalism, and a progressive vision of social justice.” Like a religion (hence the reference to fundamentalism), sustainability never questions its tenets. It posits them and even has “pledges” for students and school officials to adhere to. And the courses that go into the sustainability curriculum are far more like preaching than teaching.
Consider, for example the “Ethics of Eating” course at Cornell, a school that has gone head over heels for sustainability. Students are required to “either defend your eating habits or change them.” It’s advocacy, not intellectual study. There is nothing wrong in trying to convince people to become vegans, but doing so has no connection with the functions of a higher education institution.
Imagine the outcry if a college sponsored a course where students were expected to defend their religion or change it.
What other sorts of courses do students take in the sustainability curriculum? It’s a hodge-podge, including “trash studies,” “environmental poetry,” and my favorite, ”Small Spaces Studio” where students learn how best to live in mini-spaces. Frequently, courses link some “identity” belief with sustainability, such as that “patriarchy” is the enemy of sustainable life and therefore must be ended. . .