What is Sustainability? What is Sustainable Development? What is Biodiversity? What is ‘GreenEconomy’ or ‘Ecological Economics’?
ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY WILL ENABLE THE EARTH TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING HUMAN LIFE AS WE KNOW IT “Blue Marble’’NASA composite images: 2001 (left), 2002 (right).
What is Sustainability? The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere: to hold; sus: up). Dictionaries provide more than ten meanings for sustain, the main ones being to “maintain", "support", or "endure” . _ ___________________________________ Sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. From an environmental stance, the term refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet’s climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biologicalsystems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands andforests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is thepotential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic,and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsibleplanning and management of resources.Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences ofeconomic activity. Moving towards sustainability is a social challenge that entails, amongother factors, international and national laws, urban planning and transport, local andindividual lifestyles and ethical consumerism , etc. Ways of living more sustainably can takemany forms from reorganising living conditions, reappraising economic sectors, or workpractices , using science to develop new technologies to make adjustments that conserveresources.Healthy ecosystems and environments provide vital goods and services to humans andother organisms. There are two major ways of reducing negative human impact andenhancing ecosystem services. One approach is environmental management; this approachis based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science, andconservation biology. Another approach is management of consumption of resources,which is based largely on information gained from economics.
“Sustainability is a possible way of living or being in which individuals, firms, governments, and other institutions act responsibly in taking care of the future as if it belonged to them today, in equitably sharing the ecological resources on which the survival of human and other species depends, and in assuring that all who live today and in the future will be able to flourish, that is, to satisfy their needs and human aspirations.” - John Ehrenfeld , 2000
“Sustainability is a new paradigm of decision making for all sectors of society based on a better appreciation of the complex interconnections between economic, social and environmental issues, and the impact of today’s decisions on future generations. Sustainability favors decision making processes that are participatory, transparent, equitable, and accountable.” -Macdonald, 2001 Sustainability is an approach to decision making that considers theinterconnections and impacts of economic, social and environmental factors ontoday’s and future generations’ quality of life. It is a dynamic and evolvingnotion, and as a process, it strives to be participatory, transparent, equitable,informed, and accountable.
Sustainability terminology lacks singularly accepted definitions is an “essentially contested concept” has acted as a call to action and a new paradigm of thinking in light of the environmental, social and economic concerns of the late 20th and early 21st century has allowed environmentalists to engage developers Sustainability is a process or state that is not time definite or time constrained. Sustainability requires that a process has an inherent capacity to last over time. Let’s take for example fixed income earners who spend more than they earn and finance themselves via past savings or borrowing. At some point in time this process comes to an end as saving may run out and access to further borrowing no longer exists. This process, overtime, clearly becomes unsustainable. Consider the bigger picture. Sustainability in terms of economic development , aims to improve one’s or to a large extent society’s well-being or quality of life. Sustainability becomes important when issues of ecology and the environment are imported into the development debate and when development covers not one but many generations.
What Does Sustainability Look Like? Sustainability is not easy to recognize, partly because it will notstand still. New approaches to thinking about sustainability start with thatsense of constant change, and are based on new forms of learningthat can change peoples attitudes and behaviors. No solution that can simply be taken off the shelf will always bethe right answer. So the focus has to be on helping people find newways of adapting constantly. The environmental movement is now thinking about how peoplebehave, why they behave in the ways they do, and how to changethat – to tackle unsustainable local production and consumption.
Sustainability involves The notion of long term thinking Recognition that the health of the planet as a provider of life systems for humanity and human systems must be balanced if both are to continue Acknowledgement of the complexity and interconnectedness of all systems Action at all levels of government to be successfully implemented
Some Principles Of Sustainability In The LiteratureOur Common Future (World Commission on Environment andDevelopment,1987)Principles Defining Sustainable Development (Ontario Society ofEnvironmental Management (OSEM) 1989)Defining a Sustainable Society (Robinson et al 1990,1996)Agenda 21 (1992)Six Principles of Sustainable Development (Ontario Round Table onEnvironment and Economy(ORTEE), 1992)Guideposts for a Sustainable Future (Nickerson 1993)Framework for Sustainable Development (Canadian InternationalDevelopment Agency 1994)The Natural Step (Robert et al 1994)Sustainability Principles (ORTEE 1994), etc.
Basic Principles of SustainabilityMinimizing the use of Non-Renewable ResourcesMinimizing Impacts on theNatural EnvironmentProtecting BiodiversityUsing Renewable Resourcesin a Sustainable Manner
Guiding Principles of Sustainability1. Orientation towards benefit and need2. Efficient use of resources3. Use of renewable resources4. Multiple use and recycling5. Flexibility and adaptability6. Fault tolerance and risk precaution7. Securing employment, income and quality of lifePeople Planet Profit
The Natural Step Founded in 1989 by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt in Sweden The Four System Conditions Reworded as The Four Principles Of Sustainability (Based on the Laws of (‘Backcasting from Principles’) Thermodynamics )In a Sustainable Society, Nature is not To become a sustainable society we must... subject to Systematically increasing: Eliminate our Contribution to the Progressive build up of Concentrations of Substances Substances extracted from the Earths crust extracted from the Earths Crust ( heavy metals and fossil fuels) Eliminate our Contribution to the Progressive build up of Concentrations of Substances Chemicals and Compounds produced by society produced by Society ( Dioxins, PCBs, and DDT ) Eliminate our Contribution to the Progressive Physical Degradation and Destruction of Nature and Natural Processes Degradation by Physical means (over harvesting forests and paving over critical wildlife habitat) And, in that Society, People are not Eliminate our Contribution to Conditions that Underminesubject to conditions that Systemically People’s Capacity to meet their basic Human Needs Undermine their Capacity to meet ( unsafe working conditions and not enough pay to live on) their needs
Sustainability ProblemsDepletion of Finite Resources Fuels, Soil, Minerals, SpeciesOver-use of Renewable Resources Forests, Fish & Wildlife, Fertility, Public FundsPollution Air, Water, SoilInequity Economic, Political, Social, GenderSpecies Loss Endangered Species and Spaces -WCED,1987
Sustainability Solutions Cyclical Material Use Emulate Natural Cycles; 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Safe Reliable Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, Substitution, Interim Measures Life-based Interests Health, Creativity, Communication, Coordination, Appreciation, Learning, Intellectual and Spiritual Development
Sustainability DriversInformed Public DemandPositive Recognition for LeadersBest Long-term SolutionEnvironmental LegislationIncreasing Prices for Resources (Energy, Water, Fuel, Wood ,etc)
New Sustainability ThinkingSustainability thinking so far has focused mainly around the intellectual and thepolitical , the spiritual and aesthetic has been largely ignored ; it needs to reachpeoples hearts as well as their minds. The questions now are:How to link the great potential in peoples real experiences - theauthenticity of real life - with the global challenges that face everyone?How can creative thinking contribute to the picture of what sustainability might looklike?How to make the connections between global environmental problems, andpeoples own wellbeing and happiness?How to help people connect what they know is right, with doing the right thing? What can really reach peoples hearts so that they begin to make the sorts ofchanges that will begin to move towards a sustainable world?
New Sustainability InitiativesProjects that create economic development through practical improvementsto degraded landscapesProjects to insulate peoples homes to reduce energy consumption and tacklefuel povertyHousing developments that aim for zero carbon emissions duringconstruction as well as when the houses are lived inNew farming methods that support local economies by sharing labor andskills and resourcesNew technologies that enable the sharing of design and technologicalinnovationCommunity-run projects to generate energy from renewable sources
Assignmenta) What do you understand by the term ‘sustainability’ and what are ‘sustainability drivers’ ?b) What are the perceived sustainability problems and possible solutions ?c) Write a note on various Sustainability Models. Not more than 04 (four) A4 size pages typed in 1.15 cm space, 10 pt. font size. To be submitted at the B School office ( C 3050 ) not later than 27th Sept . (BB) and 28th September 2011 (AA). Engaging in any form of academic dishonesty/plagiarism is punishable under the College policy. Students are responsible for adhering to all federal and provincial laws/ regulations , and to all College agreements and policies , and can be held liable for non-compliance.