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Top 10 sustainability myths

I winced when I saw the headline “Top 10 Myths about Sustainability.” These articles are almost always an excuse for lame contrarianism. Did you know that a Prius is worse than a Hummer!?!?!! Did you know that farmer’s markets kill panda bears!?!?

But hey, guess what, the article is really good, providing food for thought on a number of contentious issues. For example:

**Myth 2: Sustainability is all about the environment.**

Is climate change an environmental issue or an economic issue? Are we killing the planet, or just making it an inhospitable place for humans?

**Myth 4: It’s all about recycling.**

Recycling is important, but the outsized grip it has on the public imagination puzzles a lot of environmentalists. Do you recycle religiously, eat a ton of fast food, and drive thirty miles to work every day? If so, your environmental priorities may be out of whack.

**Myth 7: Consumer choices and grassroots activism, not government intervention, offer the fastest, most efficient routes to sustainability.**

We obviously need grassroots activism, consumer awareness, *and* government intervention. But in a world of tradeoffs and priorities, this all-of-the-above formulation can be a bit of a cop-out. What problems can we reasonably expect individuals to address, and what areas require a strong policy framework?

**Myth 9: Sustainability is ultimately a population problem.**

In a trivial sense everything is a population problem: no people, no problem. Unfortunately, this formulation fails to provide any leverage on a solution. The challenge for humanity is, how do we support this number of people on this Earth, in a sustainable manner?

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