Now the state’s “Committee on Energy and Environment” is proposing a law that would prohibit spending on anything that won’t set Kansas on a course to self-destruction. House Bill No. 2366 would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development,” which it defines as: “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”
If this definition sounds familiar, that’s because it was lifted verbatim from what’s commonly referred to as theBrundtland Report, one of the seminal documents in the modern practice of sustainability. The Brundtland Report was the product of a four-year commission set up by United Nations member countries that were increasingly concerned that the world’s resources were being squandered and its environment spoiled.
It’s a common misperception that sustainability is only about making sacrifices. When done right, sustainability, by definition, actually makes money — in the long run and often in the short run, too. Corporations that track sustainability objectives have been shown to outperform those that don’t. They are better suited to manage risk and identify cost savings, and often have easier access to capital.
Kansas’s fuels are finite, and the state’s aging drilling fields already produce just a small fraction of their output from the second half of the twentieth century. That’s the energy past. If you’ve ever stood on Kansas prairie for long enough to get your shoes dirty, you’ve surely sensed its energy future as it ruffled your hair. The remarkably flat plains have more inherent wind power than any other state besides Texas, which is three times the size of Kansas.