Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Sustainability Grain Sustainability



 A society that balances the environment, other life forms,
 and human interactions over an indefinite time period.


Derrick Jensen AMY GOODMAN: Derrick, you've written, "Civilization is not and can never be sustainable."

DERRICK JENSEN: Yeah. Several years ago, I was riding around in a car with a friend of mine, George Draffan, with whom I've written a couple books. And I was just making conversation. I said, "So, George, if you could live at any level of technology that you want to, what would it be?" And he was not in a very good mood that day, and he said, "That's a really stupid question, Derrick, because we can fantasize whatever we want, but the truth is there's only one level of technology that's sustainable. And that's the Stone Age. And we'll be there again some day. And the only question really is, what's left of the world when we get there?"

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that any way of living that's based on the use of non-renewable resources won't last. In fact, I would say it takes anybody but a rocket scientist to figure that out. And likewise, it doesn't take someone who's very smart to figure out that if every year there are-fewer salmon return than the year before, that eventually there won't be any left. I mean, there were so many passenger pigeons that they would darken the sky for days at a time. There were six times as many passenger pigeons than all the birds in the northern-in North America. Do we know why there aren't any penguins in the northern hemisphere? The great ox? They were destroyed. And my point is that any way of life that's based on the hyper-exploitation of renewable resources won't last. You have to basically-in the book, What We Leave Behind, what we came to for a definition of "sustainability" is leaving the physical world in a better place than when you were born, that the world is actually a better place because you were born.
- Democracy Now, 11-26-2010
(I had the pleasure of interviewing Derrick on my own show in March of '05)


"One wouldn't know from TV news or major newspapers that U.S. energy use, representing a disproportionate one quarter of the world's consumption - warming the globe with fossil fuels emissions - is completely unsustainable."
- Jan Lundberg (Culture Change 10/16/2004)


In their book, The Crowded Greehouse, authors John Firor and Judith Jacobsen suggest that if we (and the planet) are to survive we need "...to strike a new balance in which the scale of human activities is in keeping with the scale of natural systems. In other words, a balance in which human activities on Earth are sustainable."


"In this context 'sustainable' is used in its original meaning. In the late 18th century, the mandate of sustainability was created by the Prussian forest administration to mean 'never take more wood out of a forest than nature can replenish between two harvesting periods.' This rule applies to all interactions between man and nature."

- Dr. Ulf Bossell. of the European Fuel Cell Forum, in his essay;
On the Way to a Sustainable Energy Future (published paper, "Intelec '05" at Berlin)

Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for info on Voluntary Simplicity...
Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for simple things You can do for the Earth!


Summer Camp Greeting Card by Del Iron Cloud - 1989 "All that the Lakota needed for living was provided by nature. Over centuries, a simple, economic and environmentally sensitive lifestyle developed. Within a short time, they had all the comforts of home on the hunting trail: a tipi, running water, wood, grass for horses, and plenty of fish, wildlife, fruit and roots of the land."

From the Summer Camp greeting card
Del Iron Cloud, Hunkpapa Sioux
Tipi Press, St. Joseph's Indian School, Chamberlain, SD 57326



"All around the world we find hopeful examples of succesful sustainable farming operations in poor, rural communities. And when we say sustainable, we mean, of course, the deep organic faming we've discussed, where the soil is nurtured through composting, biological pest control, and rotation of crops and livestock without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers."

- Jane Goodall in her book,
Harvest for Hope, p. 209


"While primal peoples lived in sustainable communities for tens of thousands of years without impairing the viability of ecosystems, modern technocratic-industrial society threatens every ecosystem on Earth and may even be threatening to drastically change the pattern of weather in the biosphere as a whole."

- Bill Devall & George Sessions
Deep Ecology (Living as if Nature Mattered), 1985, p. 127




Bumpersticker - Insatiable is not Sustainable.jpg

Okay, the idea here should be pretty plain and simple - we can't go on living like this! Our consumptive, wasteful lifestyle is taking its toll on our environment, the planet, and even our mental well-being. In my short lifetime alone (I was born in 1955) we've devoured countless forests, oil reserves, animal species, river resources and open space. The math is simple, as well - there isn't enough of any resource left, except maybe sand for glassmaking and silicon chips, to allow us this extravagance for another day, week, or generation longer. Not only is there not enough to go around anymore, but we ruined our own quality of life in the process of all this extraction and exploitation. Although it's too late for hundreds of species that can't be recovered, or the vast forests we've flattened for toothpicks and hot tubs, we can still "get right" with nature and the world by becoming careful, mindful stewards of what's left. Here, in America, we have the ability to save what's left and set an example for the rest of the world - we just need to abandon this wild, uncontrolled "me first," "luxury-at-any-cost" attitude that's permeated our culture far too long now. We can do it - I know we can!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - Summer, 2006




Seven-Plus Wonders of Sustainability:

(Bits & Pieces from Donella Meadows, Alan Durning, John C. Ryan, and me!)

  1. The bicycle
    The most energy-efficient form of transport ever devised. It doesn't emit pollution, it runs on renewable energy, it makes its user healthier, it's easy to repair, it requires little in the way of pavement or parking lot, and 80 percent of the world's people can afford one. (Only 10 percent of the world's people can afford a car.)
  2. The clothesline
    Even more affordable than the bicycle, runs on solar energy, no wires, no electricity, no pollution, and your clothes come out smelling sweet.
  3. The ceiling fan
    The air conditioner of the tropical world. A fan makes a space feel 9 degrees F. cooler than it really is. A typical ceiling fan draws no more than 75 watts, about as much as a single incandescent light bulb, only one-tenth as much as an air conditioner. And it doesn't make the air stale and clammy, the way air conditioners do.
  4. The condom
    Protects against some of the world's worst diseases, gives parents control over the size and timing of their families, helps control population growth. "Those are big jobs for a flimsy tube of rubber," says John C. Ryan (author of the book "Seven Wonders"). One sustainability problem with this item is that it's discarded after just one use. But it's made from natural rubber, a renewable resource.
  5. The public library
    The written wisdom of the world at the fingertips of anyone with a library card! The average American pays $20 a year in taxes to support public libraries and can save that much by borrowing instead of buying just one or two books. A book that is loaned ten times cuts not only cost but paper use per read by a factor of ten.
  6. The Squatty Potty
    Although not a giant inovation, the squatty potties I used in Africa and China seemed much less resource intensive than the porcelain insulators we're accustomed to in the West. Plus, I believe the squatting position to be much quicker, cleaner, and healthier than simply sitting...
  7. Pad Thai
    The highly seasoned Asian dish made of noodles, garlic, and vegetables, sometimes with bits of chicken or shrimp thrown in. Ryan doesn't mean to celebrate that particular dish so much as the basic principle of "peasant" cooking around the world: start with starch, mix in veggies, add great seasonings, and use meat sparingly if at all. Could as well be tortillas and beans, or curry and rice, or spaghetti and tomato sauce. Healthy, cheap, do-it-yourself, easy on the planet, delicious.
  8. The ladybug
    Constantly, without charge, without environmental damage, searching out and destroying plant pests. Your average ladybug scarfs up 40-75 plant-sucking aphids a day. Multiply that by 75,000 beetles per gallon, which farmers can order through the mail, and you've got one heck of an efficient pesticide. Something like 98 percent of sprayed chemical pesticides never even hit a pest, but ladybugs zoom right in on the aphids and nothing but the aphids.
  9. The root cellar
    Temperature controlled by the Earth, a way of storing potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, squash, turnips, beets, apples, dahlia tubers and gladiolus corms (that's what goes in my root cellar) without moving parts, canning jars, boiling or freezing.
  10. The basket
    Baskets, made all over the world by skillful hands out of renewable, biodegradable material, are lightweight, strong, beautiful, and reusable over and over.
  11. The olive tree
    It can live hundreds or thousands of years in dry, hot climates; like all trees it recycles carbon dioxide breathed out by us animals and turns it back into the oxygen we need; its roots hold the soil; its leaves break the impact of the rains; and it produces tasty, healthful olive oil.
  12. The sari
    And the sarong and the shawl, made of uncut, unsewn cloth colored and patterned as gorgeously as a butterfly, gracefully draped, comfortable, cool, adaptable. You can suspend babies in it or melons or firewood. You can hitch it up for wading, tuck it around your legs for bicycling or running, pull it over your face if you want shade or to be modest or to flirt. Never out of style. Easy to wash and dry. One size fits all.
  13. The compost pile
    At home I've epxerimented with above and below ground piles, bins, drums, and simply throwing waste out onto my garden. So far the four sided bin seems to work best although all of them are superior to the landfill.
  14. The knitting needle
    Imagine making your own clothes!
  15. The canoe
    Sleek, simple, and easy to use! Doesn't make noise or dump waste oil into the water.
"What do all these wonders have in common? Well, their kindness to the earth and to human health is what qualifies them for a sustainability list. They are accessible to anyone, inexpensive to obtain and maintain. Many of them serve not only practical but also esthetic needs; they satisfy the eye, the palate, or the soul. Most are old in concept, though they may have modern variations. Something like them has evolved in many different cultures. Most are objects you can buy, but usually from a local maker, not a multinational corporation.

"Maybe that's why we don't much appreciate the humble, sustainable wonders around us. Their value is too obvious to need touting. You only have to spend billions 'marketing' something if its worth is in doubt."

- Donella Meadows, Ph.D (1941 - 2001)




University of Colorado at Boulder
Field Laboratory For Sustainable Building Practices

ustainability Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder - November 2006 ustainability Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder - November 2006 ustainability Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder - November 2006 I spend a lot of time in one of my favorite towns, Boulder, Colorado, finding all kinds of neat things related to recycling and sustainable practices. In November, 2006 I stumbled upon the University of Colorado's Boulder Field Laboratory for sustinable building practies.

I had no idea the University offered such training so I did a quick search and found this course description on their site; "The university approved the laboratory, which consists of a 400-square-foot straw bale structure with a concrete acrylic roof, as a temporary facility through the end of 2005. The lab has been an integral part of a civil engineering course, Sustainability and the Built Environment, which covers topics such as eco-materials, sustainable water and wastewater systems, renewable energy, waste and waste products, green building, straw bale construction, natural plasters and building with earth and straw."

"The goal of the facility is to be self-sufficient, generating its own power using photovoltaic panels and possibly biodiesel, and collecting and processing enough rainwater to complete all on-site projects."





LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. LOHAS consumers are those who are passionate about the environment, sustainability, social issues, and health. Although there should be less emphasis on consuming anything, I think LOHAS is off to a good start because more thought is given to the purchase of organic, natural food, green building, energy efficient appliances, natural household products and preventive medicine. I'll be curious to see how well this movement grows and matures! - Roger




Harvery Wasserman Solartopia
Mother Earth can't live without a Solartopian vision
The Free Press, July 9, 2007
Harvery Wasserman*

"In the global campaign to save the Earth, a shared vision is vital."

"'Solartopia' foresees a democratic, green-powered 21st Century civilization. Our economic and ecological survival depend on it."


Technologically, the vision rests on four simple pillars:

  1. Total renunciation of all fossil and nuclear fuels. In a sustainable, survivable future, they are a 20th Century pox, neither green nor clean.
  2. All-out conversion to renewable energy, led by the 'Solartopian Trinity' of wind, solar and bio-fuels. Mother Earth gives us the natural power we need.
  3. Complete commitment to maximum efficiency, including revived and solarized mass transit and passenger rail systems. Our automotive 'love affair' is a hoax.
  4. Zero tolerance for production of anything that cannot be re-used or recycled, including chemical-based food. Solartopia is an organic, post-pollution world.


*I had the pleasure of interviewing Harvey Wasserman on my radio show in January '08...




"We have to create a sustainable society even tough people do not believe in it. We have to win without them on our side."

"If we remember this, perhaps we can avoid framing our strategies for success like this: we could win 'if only everyone understood ecology . . . or believe in the value of other species . . . or gave up the paradigm of domination . . . or gave up greed.' Even though these statements are true, they are largely irrelevant in the short term. We need to succeed without perfection."

- John Firor and Judith E. Jacobsen
The Crowded Greenhouse (Population, Climate
Change, and Creating a Sustainable World), p. 100
[your humble webmaster had the pleasure of interviewing
Firor and Jacobsen at KGNU on February 26, 2003]




Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for a simple vegetarian lifestyle...


  1. Activists - folks on the frontlines!!
  2. Appropriate Technology
  3. Backwoods Solar Electric Systems
  4. Biodiversity
  5. Biomimicry
  6. Buy Nothing Day
  7. CCAT Campus center for Appropriate Technology (Humboldt State)
  8. Control Growth
  9. Culture Change
  10. Cycling
  11. Deep Ecology Nature does matter!
  12. DCAT Development center for Appropriate Technology
  13. Earth Friendly things and ideas!
  14. Earth Policy Institute
  15. Ecological Footprint Calculator
  16. Energy
  17. Food
  18. Fossil Fuels and Peak Oil
  19. Home Power Magazine (I've subscribed for a few years and love it!)
  20. I4AT Institue for Appropriate technology (Global Village)
  21. Colorado Straw Bale Association
  1. Life After the Oil Crash
  2. LiFE Award
  3. Moral Code for a finite world
  4. NCAT National center for Appropriate Technology
  5. Nuclear Power - a bad way to boil water!
  6. Path to Freedom - The Original Modern Urban Homestead
  7. Population
  8. Recycling
  9. Resurgence
  10. Sail Transport Network
  11. Solar Energy and Appropriate Technology
  12. Sustainability by Dr. Albert Bartlett
  13. Sustainability - Toward a Culture of Sustainability
  14. SCN - Sustainable Communities Network
  15. Transportation
  16. Village Earth Consortium for Sustainable Village-Based Development
  17. Voluntary Simplicity
  18. Water
  19. Wild Ranch Manifesto by Tim Haugen
  20. World Charter for Nature - United Nations
  21. Wind Energy and Appropriate Technology




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