Cloud computing offers individuals access to data and applications from nearly any point of access to the Internet, offers businesses a whole new way to cut costs for technical infrastructure, and offers big computer companies a potentially giant market for hardware and services.
Sustainability is a seemingly laudable goal - it tells us we need to live within our means, whether economic, ecological, or political - but it's insufficient for uncertain times. How can we live within our means when those very means can change, swiftly and unexpectedly, beneath us?
Everything we think about regarding sustainability - from energy to agriculture to manufacturing to population - has a water footprint. Almost all of the water on Earth is salt water, and the remaining freshwater supplies are split between agricultural use and human use - as well as maintaining the existing natural environment.
But here's the ugly truth: nature doesn't care about democracy, or who's right, or what's fair. And because of the slow-change aspect of climate, we can't wait until the worst effects are upon us to make a decision -- by then, it would be far, far too late. The scenario we may be faced with is one where doing something for the wrong reasons, run by the wrong people, may still save more lives than holding out for a more appealing option.
The idea of sustainability can imply there is one perfect, unchanging future, if only we could work out how to get there. Resilience might be more useful, in that it assumes a dynamic environment and that perfection is impossible. You need to design systems to accommodate failure rather than eliminate it. By trying to be perfect, many visions of sustainability are quite brittle