Nobody admirers a hijacker, so I’m being imprecise, at best, when I opine that “environmentalists have hijacked sustainability.” I don’t meant to impute evil at all — hell, until very recently, I’d have self-identified as one, and our aims still essentially align. And I don't mean it literally.
What I’ve trying to get at with that observation is that most people, incorrectly, consider the two synonymous. When I started freelance reporting on the sustainability movement, I did! It took me years to see that sustainability is much bigger than the environment, and one of my aims for advocacy is to restore “sustainability” to its full context.
Last weekend via YouTube. Wendell Berry gave me another reason to step away from the concept of environmentalism that was, for me, revelatory, even while being wholly consistent with my thinking:
“I don’t think you ought to be an environmentalist. I’m so tired of that word, ‘environment.’ I would like you, if you can, to show me where the line can be drawn between an organism and its environment. I don’t think the line can be drawn. … The environment is in you, it’s passing through you, you’re breathing it in and out, you and every other creature. So we got to have a better way of talking about it. Environment is the surroundings. and we’re not surrounded. We’re in it. There’s no way to get away from it. That’s the comedy of it. It’s more intimate, more interesting.” ~ From “Wendell Berry & Gary Snyder: Distant Neighbors (edited) - 2014 Festival of Faiths"
In my podium work, I often make a similar point. We show often that we think we’re not a part of nature, and that usually means that we think we’re above it. This is demonstrably false, harmful — to ourselves and to what we’d call the environment — and full of hubris./p>
We’re not in charge, and unquestionably, we will experience the outcomes of the choices we make. We try to overcome nature, instead of seeing our place in it.