Four Questions for a Sustainable Society: Is it Repeatable?

| 3/5/2010 4:51:43 PM

Tags: four questions, sustainable society, sustainable future,

Whale Repeatability is a lot like sustainability, but it is not the same thing. Repeatability is to sustainability what fairness is to justice. When we ask, “Is this repeatable?” we expect a conditional answer. When we use repeatability as a criterion, we expect to apply it in different ways under different circumstances.

Sustainability is an important ideal. The concept forms the basis for all our efforts to protect our habitat. It is also a perfectly impossible goal.

If nature teaches us anything, it is that nothing is truly sustainable. In the course of time, everything changes.

Repeatability can be visualized when sustainability cannot.

Repeatability is both practical and flexible. There are two kinds of repeatability that represent success. We immediately recognize the value of repeatability across time. Solar power and wind power are superior choices because the sun and the wind will continue producing energy indefinitely. We are not capable of exhausting them. That is their great practical virtue. But they are also valuable for their repeatability across geography. Everywhere in the world, the sun shines and the wind blows. There are places where sunshine is more persistent and where the wind blows harder and more consistently, but they are essentially available to everyone, everywhere. For that reason, they are enormously versatile sources of energy, capable of running mechanical pumps to bring groundwater to livestock in India or generating photovoltaic electricity that fills a Tesla sports car’s batteries and sends it hurtling down the freeway in southern California.

What passes for sustainable, in the current vernacular, is often only repeatable. Repeatability is the discipline through which we pursue the unattainable goal of sustainability.

6/21/2010 10:32:12 PM

I guess I don't agree with the stop using of coal and using wind turbines-the cost of upkeep for wind turbines and the materials that are used to make them are not helpful to the envirnment or the oil used to keep them lubed aside from the fact that they make a beautiful landscape ugly. __________________

fran tracy
6/7/2010 8:03:27 AM

Sustainability is something we are loosing. Obma is destroying this country ONE BILL AT A TIME AND MAKIGN PEOPLE MORE DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENT INSTEAD OF BEING SELF RELIANT. I agree we need to conserve, recycle, and provide for our own existance as much as posible. I have apple, peach, apricot, and plum trees in my yard. I also plant a large garden and preserve it for use in the winter. I use lights only when needed and leave the AC off most of the time and when it is on, it is at 75 degrees which is tolerable. In winter the heat is at 68 degrees which is also tolerable witha sweater. THESE PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO HAVE THE AC AT 68 IN THE SUMMER AND THE HEAT AT 72 IN THE WINTER ARE WASTING RESOURCES AND MAKING THEMSELVES MORE UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN THEY GO OUTSIDE TOO. Fran

5/10/2010 9:32:23 AM

I guess I don't agree with the stop using of coal and using wind turbines-the cost of upkeep for wind turbines and the materials that are used to make them are not helpful to the envirnment or the oil used to keep them lubed aside from the fact that they make a beautiful landscape ugly. I believe hydro power is the cleanest power period-whether on an ocean or a river. I do believe that if someone wants to put a wind turbine on their own property by all means go ahead. Second - there are studies showing that managing our world better we can easily feed and sustain 12-14 billion people on our world, but that would take proper management not a government that pays farmer to NOT plant on their property or the government protecting things that are detrimental to our environment like Monzanto or big coal and oil companies.

todd reece
3/10/2010 1:36:44 PM

oppssss so sorry.. I apologize profusely.. but to continue my point... My current job is a Teachers aide. I took a $18k pay cut 8 years ago to take this job. I am taking classes in order to earn my Teachers Certificate, so the paycut isn't permanent. This allowed me to be home for both of my kids instead of chasing after $$$. It helps me encourage and mold the next generation. I took this job to help kids. To help the future. THATS what giving back or "repeatability" is all about. I could have had a $60k managerial job by now. I could have had a brokers license. But I chose to help the next generation as best I could. Our Freedoms are being encroached on. Every day. From Eminent Domain to Population Control to Global Warming. Our schools are a joke.How can our kids make good political choices when they can't READ? Its no wonder people are elected because they are handsome or cool (Ya think Lincoln woulda stood a chance today?)... its all about image over ideas. THAT'S unsustainable. Repeatability is great. I believe we should be smarter and more prepared to do with less. One person can make a difference. Each of us, going off the grid, getting food locally, raising gardens, chicks and goats, make huge differences in our culture. If not now, surely in 10 yrs. Not at the expense of Freedom and Liberty. But BECAUSE of them.

todd reece
3/10/2010 12:59:45 PM

Almost sounds like a religion. Our goal should be to become more local, more self sufficient and become less dependent on others. Whether that is through buying local foods, personal or neighborhood gardens, each of us has a duty to become independent of the societal gluttony that we find ourselves in. We are living in a society whose very infrastructure is quite fragile. We take for granted the electrical grid, and the water pipes that run through our towns. Millions of us do not know how to plant a freekin' seed. To collect and filter rainwater for potable uses. To make or mend clothing. To care for ourselves when doctors are not around. Before there is Repeatability, there must be education. And not the "Sky is falling" type, or the "Population is exploding" type... but the moral, ethical type showing why it is the best interest of todays society to work hard, yet care for and leave the Earth in a better place than we found it. Success, monetarily based success, should not be frowned upon. "Money may not be everything," my Dad always said. "But it sure does come a close second." Money allows you to scrimp and save and give your kids a better tomorrow. Money comes from jobs. From development. From companies. From the "privileged others". Because of word limits please continue to read in the above comment......

3/8/2010 3:18:02 AM

As for Wyoming Coal, it is used because of it's low sulfur content. There are other coal mines that are in many areas of the country but that coal isn't used much because of the sulfur content and the pollutants that violate the clean air act. An Environmental lab in Casper Wyoming, found a process over 15 years ago, that stripped the sulfur content from coal from other areas that prevented those bi-products from entering the air, but when it was tested and announced, the Governor of Wyoming at the time threatened to destroy that company if the news ever got out, because too many governmental big wigs had money invested in Wyoming Coal and the process would permit people throughout the country to buy and use local coal instead of Wyoming coal. The project was halted and the company was pressured to keep quiet or they would be shut down. Politics and political investments keep remedies from being realized or utilized!

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