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Derrick Jensen – Sustainable Development is a Lie

“Sustainable development” is a claim to virtue. The word “development” used in this sense is a lie.

The word “develop” means “to grow,” “to progress,” “to become fuller, more advanced.” Some synonyms are “evolution, unfolding, maturation, ripeness,” and some antonyms are “deterioration, disintegration.” And here is a real usage example from a dictionary: “Drama reached its highest development in the plays of Shakespeare.”

But here’s the problem: A child develops into an adult, a caterpillar develops into a butterfly, a stream harmed by (say) mining might possibly in time develop back into a healthy stream; but a meadow does not “develop” into white-box houses, a bay does not “develop” into an industrial port, a forest does not “develop” into roads and clearings.

The reality is that the meadow is destroyed to make the “development.” The bay is destroyed to “develop” it into an industrial port. The forest is destroyed when the “natural resources” are “developed.”

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