Getting started with sustainability

SIMBY means “sustainability in my backyard.” It’s a blog about sustainability written by Sean Enns and Lisa Hemingway.

While we’re talking, let’s all agree that this is about “lower-case s” sustainability. Before we go too much further, it’s an important distinction to make.

“Capital S” sustainability is a big deal. It’s food and water for everyone, grown in a way that encourages future growth. It’s the balance of urban sprawl and agriculture. It’s harvesting energy without fossil fuels, without harming the environment. It’s stopping the melting of the polar ice caps, and sending lifeboats for the polar bears stranded there.

And that kind of sustainability is being talked about already. People like David Suzuki, Joel Salatin, William McDonough, and a host of other globally-recognized thought leaders are having the big conversations.

That’s not what this is about. We don’t expect everyone to go out tomorrow, and buy Teslas. We don’t want you to quit your job and join Greenpeace, or PETA, or go vegan. Not because you shouldn’t, but because you shouldn’t have to. Because if you’re good at what you do, and what you do isn’t fracking, or something else that’s keeping the rest of us from moving forward, then the world needs you right where you are.

In spite of any evidence to the contrary, I believe that most of us want to recycle, buy locally, or start a vegetable garden. We want to eat plants and animals that were grown responsibly, and ethically. We want to buy less stuff made in China, and buy more stuff made by people we know, or maybe just buy a little bit less. Starting in our backyards, we all do what we can, and aim higher. We embrace guilt-free sustainability.


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