What's in a word?

“Sustainability.” This seems to be a loaded word these days, especially in Amador County. The dictionary definition is simply this: Able to be maintained. There are other definitions as well. I’m a member of the American Tree Farm Association, and they have standards for sustainability. The standards include items such as this: Reforestation or afforestation must be achieved by a suitable process that ensures adequate stocking levels. The wording is a little more complex, but the meaning is similar: Able to be maintained. There are extreme environmentalists who believe that sustainability means “must not change”. That may be their goal, but it isn’t sustainability. That’s stagnation. There are extreme political groups who believe that sustainability is a type of socialist plot reducing the word sustainable to a “trick” or “code” word. There may in fact be socialists plotting something somewhere in the world, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t though forest maintenance in Amador County. That’s paranoia. Can we agree on the simple definition of sustainability and let extremists on either side duke it out? Can we find a middle path where sustainability as a word and as a concept can become a power for us to work together instead of a word and concept that divides us?