Organically growing

There’s been a lot of talk around the office lately about “sustainability.” As in “SN&R needs to be doing more about sustainability.” I’ve got to admit that I’ve sort of balked at the word. “What’s wrong with writing about the environment?” I recently snapped at a co-worker. Why rush to adopt fashionable new jargon when we have perfectly useful words already at hand? I guess I’m just old school that way.

But I am, slowly, beginning to see the usefulness of this word. More than ever in my lifetime, people are looking around and worrying that our old trusted systems—the way we grow our food, the way we get around, how we keep the lights on—are headed for major failure. I suppose “sustainability” subtly underscores the fact that we aren’t just trying to protect the environment: We’re trying to save our own skins.

As it happens, there is a theme of sustainability running through this week’s issue.

Kate Washington’s “Should you buy organic?” introduced me to some more disturbing terms, words like “organic agribusiness” and “food miles.” What was once a boutique business has gone mainstream—and that’s troubling to many who believe that organic farming has lost touch with its local, sustainable roots.

Sena Christian reports that Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth has taken on a whole new life on DVD (see Upfront). Nearly 2,000 households around the nation held “See the truth” viewing parties last weekend. About 30 of those parties were held in the Sacramento area. More evidence that this sustainability thing is catching on.

And Chrisanne Beckner reminds us that its time we took a hard look at how Sacramento is put together, and come up with new, sustainable ways of growing if we want to be “the most livable city in the world.” (See “Sacramento v2.0”.)

As the city’s once-in-a-generation plan moves forward, I’m sure we’ll be chiming in with our own ideas. We’d like to hear yours, too.