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Sustainability is about humanity, not the planet


We are exhorted in the name of sustainability to limit our oxidation of carbon in order to 'save the planet' (AJ 13.7.00).

The planet will survive in any case - at least until swallowed by the red giant that the sun will become.

What we are really talking about is preserving conditions on the planet that are congenial to humans.

Had the new protestant proponents of sustainability had plant and plankton equivalents, the luxuriant plants and plankton growing in a world rich in carbon dioxide and busy turning it into coal, oil and gas would undoubtedly have been urged to ease up on locking up carbon: 'Carry on like this and the world will cool down and be over-run by humans!'

Fossil fuels were created by life and the world's climate altered. Now the fuels are being consumed by life; carbon dioxide will re-enter the atmosphere and the climate will change once again. Humans may disappear or diminish in number.

By all means advocate the preservation of conditions favourable to humans, but don't kid yourself that you are doing other life forms or the planet any favours.

Seamus MacBride, Solon Design, London SW2

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