Language #1 “sustainable v durable”

Can I draw your attention to this post? It’s from Jarrett Walker’s blog, Human Transit and contains an amusing cartoon. Jarrett is an american “transit planner” and his blog is slightly technical, but I keep in touch with it because he does often have interesting things to say – he’s an interesting chap whose original background was in literature, apparently.

Anyway the point here is about the word “sustainable” and how it has become a fairly meaningless hooray-word. Jarrett suggests replacing it with “durable” which has not yet been overused. Furthermore, as it is rarely used in a greenish context, it might cause a brief pause for thought. I resolve to start using it forthwith!

Ok. Language. Yes. Just how important is it to use the right words? How much difference does our exact choice of words make? There will shortly follow a number of posts on whether it’s worth bothering to be use the right words, and what those “right words” might be.