Editor’s note: This is your weekly installment of images from Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton’s Lexicon of Sustainability. We’ll be running one image every Friday this winter, so stay tuned. If you have your own sustainability terms, you can add them yourself to the Lexicon of Sustainability.

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We live in a world of dwindling natural resources. The principle of sustainability offers us a road map for managing what we have left. Yet as we attempt to put our world back in balance, we’ve seen the term “sustainability” grossly misused, its meaning devalued, hijacked, turned into hollow sounding marketing jingles.

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Instead of tossing the word away, we should take it back and work to redefine what sustainability means.

Peter Gerica is a third generation Gulf Coast fisherman.  When I asked how his crab business survived both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, he said, “After Katrina, we lost everything. When I say everything, I mean when we got out of the trees all we had on were our pants and a smile. You just have to keep moving forward.”

His definition of sustainability? “It can be defined as any species, (including Gulf Coast fishermen and Louisiana blue crabs) that withstands the impact of all user groups upon it, maintaining equilibrium throughout its lifecycle.”

What is your definition of sustainability?

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