Who’s More Sustainable?

I’ve been thinking about how and whether to write this post for a couple of weeks now. And I think I’m going to go for it – hopefully I won’t offend anyone tonight.It seems that lately there’s been a bit of “I’m more sustainable” or “I’m localer” than you going around the web and media blogosphere. And while I agree that certain choices are fundamentally more sustainable, others are not so clear cut. And the comparisons and somewhat competitive nature that has been coming out makes me uncomfortable.Not just because I probably lose the debate, after all, we’re still working our way through a paper napkin supply from the year we got married and we still use paper towels and Mike doesn’t always drink local beer and I’ve got a soft spot for chocolate and store bought salad dressing. But also because I think it’s a self defeating discussion.I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about what sustainability means or which choices are more sustainable or which are shortsighted. More that we should be careful not to make each other and our fellow citizens feel like we think we’re superior or that our way is the only way.The truth is that there are a lot of ways to live sustainably and there are a lot of choices to make that have far flung ramifications.Where we choose to live, how much we drive, what we eat and what we choose not to consume and why are all relevant and powerful choices and discussions. But when we position the choice we made as the only choice we set ourselves up to alienate the rest of the world.Living in the city can be a sustainable choice, but it has ramifications. Living on a small farm or ranch can be a sustainable choice, but it has ramifications. Giving up your car can be sustainable but on the flip side there are reasons why you might trade the use of gasoline for the other, greater, benefits it can deliver.We should be honest about the downsides of our choices, about the hidden and not so hidden costs. About why it’s right for us but not necessarily right for someone else.I’m ready and willing to talk about my choices and what I think of them. To talk about the tradeoffs I’m making and the ramifications of them for me and the rest of the world. Are you?Over the next month or so I’m going to make an effort to focus on some of the negative aspects of our move to the country in addition to my usual focus on the positives. Stay tuned.*****Edited to reflect that I really meant the broader web, media and blogosphere.