I'm reading John Elkington's new book The Zeronaughts, which I'll review in whole in due course, but there's one thing about it which is really annoying me from the start. Elkington has adopted the Long Now Foundation's date format of adding a zero to the front of the traditional format, so 2012 becomes 02012. The argument is that this forces us to think long term.
I hate this and here's why:
- It's plain annoying - After 41 years of indoctrination, I can't see a five figure number as a year, so I have to double take every time one turns up;
- It is creating an artificial barrier between the reader and the important content - we should be making sustainability more accessible, not less;
- It is self indulgent - we need to focus on practical solutions, not esoteric, clever-clever concepts;
- We don't actually have the luxury of thinking 10,000+ years in the future - we need to concentrate on acting swiftly and decisively NOW and in the next decade to making society sustainable for the next century or so. If we do that, it will be sustainable for longer.
Rant over - but the principles of accessibility, simplicity and urgency should permeate all our sustainability communications.