Is ‘saving the world’ really a good argument?

Last summer, in the French town of Le Mans, the famous twenty-four hour race started. In the front of the field, the hybrids from Porsche, Audi and Toyota shot away into a big lead. After twenty minutes, the backmarkers, Ferrari’s and Chevrolet’s, were lapped, which means a disadvantage of 14 kilometers. Porsche went on to win, while Audi’s broke the 44 year-old lap record, from in 1971.

We have a world to save, otherwise, we would have honestly said that hybrid cars (or 100% electric) are simply better than their fossil counterparts. We would have said that sustainability isn’t a harsh necessity, but a logical improvement.

It is the necessity of saving the world that makes sustainability look like a ‘the end justifies the means’ approach, which makes the discussion very black-and-white. Either any price for sustainability is either justified, or too high.

But Porsche won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a hybrid car, not because it wants to save the world, but because it wanted to win a race. The sustainable alternative is now simply better than the fossil-based, and that trend is visible everywhere: homeowners are filling their roofs with solar panels, because it is financially profitable, and because it makes more sense to produce energy at the location where you use it. A well-insulated house is pleasant to live in, and some people buy an induction stove, because it’s easier to clean than a stove.

For the first time, ever, sustainability seems to be synonymous with logic, efficiency, economy and fun. And the point is: that might just as well save our world.