Satiric Graph on the Use of the Word "Sustainable"

Ashley Thorne

From the humorists at the blog xkcd (which brought us the widely circulated Venn diagram on university websites) comes a charming little comic, a graph on the "Frequency of use of the word 'sustainable' in US English text, as a percentage of all words, by year." 

Given the frequency of the term in higher education, the graph seems an apt satire on the growing obsession over sustainability by our culture. A Google search today of the word "sustainability" in .edu sites turns up over 42 million results. Compare that to a search of "Western civilization" in .edu sites, which yields only 2 million.

NAS has paid attention to the rise of the sustainability movement as a dominant ideology on college campuses. If you're curious what we've written about it, here are some of our early articles on the campus sustainability movement. You can also see our official statement, "Fixing Sustainability and Sustaining Liberal Education." 

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