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Sustainability Review

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Sustainability Review Test 1

1) Kenneth E. Boulding—“Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth” * English (1910-1993), Professor at U. of Michigan, U of Colorado * Economist, educator, peace advocate, Quaker, systems scientists, interdisciplinary philosopher * We are approaching a closed system and how it is going to be tough for us * Neither receivers inputs nor outputs * i.e. self-contained * Today we are in an open mind approaching a closed one * Morals are keeping us in the open for now * Econospherethe total worth of everything we have * Fossil fuel is buried sunshine * Shift from Cowboy Economy—people believe that there are unlimited shits, i.e. like the wild west to Spaceship Economy * Spaceship Economywe have only brought enough food/resources for the people we are carrying and must make it last for as long as we can * Stresses resource management * Doesn’t really consider environmental impact as much as more about conservation * Focuses more on population vs. environmental impact * Entropy (?) * Spaceman Economy living within our means, don’t worship production vs. costs… more conservation concerned * Fracking is a good example of us still in a cowboy mode although we are shifting toward Spaceman

* Reference to Ethics—ethics, it is us, it is a plural term… we have an ethical obligation to think of future generations * Solutions at the end of the article * 1) Using taxation to deter others * 2) Correction to price system higher price higher quality * 3) Legislative action

2) Garrett Hardin: “The Tragedy of the Commons” (1968) * Background: * Lived in US (1915-2003) * Professor Human Ecology at UC Santa Barbara * Known for Hardin’s First Law of Ecology: stating the impossibility of doing merely one thing without reprcussions * Was an American Ecologist who warned of the dangers of overpopulation an whose concept of the tragedy of commons brought attention to “the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment” * Wrote about how planets population is getting too big for our resources * Have to put limits on national parks due to overuse for example * Pollution Following your nest * We need to legislate temperance * Mutual concern mutually agreed upon—everyone had to agree to give up something to fix this * Conclusion: relinquish freedom to produce as mush as we want * Population Control—has become unpopular but hasn’t totally gone awa

I=PAT * I = PAT is the lettering of a formula put forward to describe the impact of human activity on the environment. * I = P × A × T * In words: * Human Impact (I) on the environment equals the product of P= Population, A= Affluence, T= Technology. This describes how our growing population, affluence, and technology contribute toward our environmental impact. * The equation was developed in the 1970s during the course of a debate between Barry Commoner, Paul R. Ehrlich and John Holdren. Commoner argued thatenvironmental impacts in the United States were caused primarily by changes in its production technology following World War II, while Ehrlich and Holdren argued that all three factors were important and emphasized in particular the role of human population growth.[1][2][3]

Sustainability * Sustainability (1987) from Brundtland Commission—mission is to unite countries together to pursue sustainable development together * Sustainable Development development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs * This is a process

3) Lynn White Jr. * Background: wrote a very controversial piece in Science that ended up jump-starting discussions and arguments about environmental ethics and Christian faith: * A) “Solving our current environmental problems depends not so much on developing the appropriate science and technology, but in changing our underlying attitude toward nature: “More science and more technology are not going to get us out of the present ecological crisis until we find a new religion or rethink our old one” * B) Christianity is the religion that shaped and still shapes our culture and our science …esp in Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen” * We (made in the image and likeness of God) share in God’s transcendence over nature:--that is, we are not really a part of nature, we are above it, outside it (as is God). It is there for us to use it as we wish, to subdue and to dominate (Gen 1:28) * C) In replacing Animism (according to which trees, stones, hills, animals, had spirits resident in them) Christianity turned the natural world into neutral stuff that could be use for whatever ends human beings happen to come up with * Fundamental Conviction is that “What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to the things around them” * Human ecology is deeply conditions by beliefs about our nature and destiny—that is by religion. * Christianity is one tailor-made for the explanation of nature, and so , he concludes that it is no surprise that western science and technology have led to the wholesale destruction of the natural world * Historians cricized him for oversimplifying the history of western science and technology, and for refusing to consider economic factors in growth of Western * In this essay, he does not think that one can say religion is necessarily the cause of environmental problems but on the other he connects religion with value structures, which have a powerful say in what we choose to do or choose not to do.

* White’s Basic Claim: is that if we don’t change our current value system (based on highly anthropocentric Christianity) then developing better science and more effective technology will do no good since we will continue to use them for goals that make sense to us based on the value system (and they are bad goals)!!!!

4) Joseph Blenkinsopp (Emeritus faculty member in Department of Theo at ND and an expert on the OT) * Wrote in response to White * Suspiscious of naïve attempts to find a simple formula in the Bible for a contemporary problem that would have been simply inconceivable to anyone during biblical times * He argued that since the Hebrew Bible doesn’t really have a concept of, and this an attitude toward “nature,” B proposes that we move indirectly by looking at what it is that God does in creating (since if humans are in the image and likeness of God” it is this kind of activity that we are meant to continue as God’s “stewards” over creation” * He focuses on White’s assertion that “The Understanding of society’s value structure must be based less on what that society says about itself than on what it actually does, and on what it epcresses in pictures and other symbols less involved in formal education than words are” * Responds by saying that the dietary laws were first and foremost practices that the Jewish people DID, day in and day out, and that , like any such actions shaped their attitudes at a very basic and implicit level 5) Gifford Pinochet: 1st Chief of US Forest Service * Leadership in promoting scientific forestry and emphasized the controlled profitable use of forests and other natural resources so that they would be of max benefit to man kind * All about value and making it useful * Very economic … profit should be main motivation * Used the rhetoric of market economy to disarm critics of efforts to expand the role of government : scientific research of forests and natural resources was profitable * Generally opposed to preservation for the sake of wilderness of scenery … e.g. supported daming Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park

6) Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) * Background: * Went to Yale School of Forrestry est. by Gifford Pinochet * Started the discipline of Wildlife Management * Huge Conservationist * Owned 80 acres of abandoned farm land in the “sand counties” of Wisconsin * Wrote “A Sand County Almanac” * Complex view of nature: supported hands on positive manipulation of nature but also appreciated leaving nature and wilderness alone * Interesting because in between a transition * Not all about leave it all untouched but about appreciating and valuing and knowing what our limits are

* Wilderness Conclusion- the fundamental value is to be able to see (i.e. see out interconnectedness and need for conservation) * Not enough to think “this is so pretty” * We need to know enough to know what they are looking at * Conservation joins human history and natural history * The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems. * Traditionally there has been a gap between human history and history of nature * We are now thinking of these as one combined, shared history * This is different than it has ever been in the world!

* Earth First tree spiking/ sit ins * “Eco terrorists”—direct action, civil disobedience, monkey wrenching, ecotage * “The use or threatened use of a violence of a criminal nature against people or property by an environmentally orientated, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature”

* Leopold’s “Land Ethic”—A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise * There is an aesthetic dimension and emotional link too * This is more likely to actually motivate people * Land then is not merely soil … it is a foundation of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals. Food chains are the living channels which conduct energy upward; death and decay return it to soil * “This thumbnail sketch of land as an energy circuit conveys three basic ideas * 1) The land is not merely soil (i.e. dynamic system) * 2) That native plants and animals keep the energy circuit open; others man or may not (conservation) * 3) That man made changes are of a different order than evolutionary changes and have effects more comprehensive than is intended or forseen (anthropogenesis, precautionary principle)

* Evolution of ethics = extension to areas previously governed by expediency only * Progression * 1) Individual-individual * 2) indiv-society * 3) Individual-land (soil, water, plants, animals) * Community Concept * A) extension of community to land = land ethic * B) human role shifts from conquerer to citizen * C) Biotic community vs. Abrahams assumption * D) ordinary citizen assumes scientist know all the workings of the biotic community, but scientist know better * E) need for ecological interpretation of history

* Ecological Consequence * A) Status quo conservation notions not radical enough * B) land-use assumption = only enlightened self-interest * C) need “internal change” of “social conscience” * D) “in our attempt to make conservation easy, we have made it trivial”

* Substitutes for Land Ethic * 1) most of substitutes are govt. programs * 2) govt programs inadequate due to widespread private ownership of land * 3) thus need to change the ethics of landowners

* The Land Pyramid * A. Balance of nature an inadequate idea * B. land = layers of life * C. land = a foundation of energy … energy circuit * D. Native plants and animals keep the circuit open * E. Man made changes differ from evolutionary ones * F. More population density = more “violent changes”

* Land Health and the A-B Cleavage * A) commodity production; agronomy; artificial production; conqueror; land as slave * B) biota; ecological agriculture; natural propagation; citizen (steward); land as a “collective organism” * The Outlook * 1) need love, respect, admiration for land’s value * 2) need consciousness of land-use as more than an economic problem * 3) A thing is right when it tends to preserve the intergrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community * 4) need an escape from the economic determinists into a * 5) Smarter, more thoughtful ethic

* Three Schools of Ethics * 1) Deontological …… duty……Kantian categorical imperative * 2) Consequentialist……effects…..Utilitarianism * 3) Virtue……character…..human well being * This is where the land ethic belongs

7) Hirsch and Norton * Feel lie they need to supplement Leopold * “Thinking Like a Planet” * Belief: Key to finding our obligation for finding a virtous path forward in the face of climate change will be a significant shift in the understanding of the context of our moral actions. That shift can best be understood as a metaphor-driven cognitive transformation in the scale of the systems we think about and seek to manage * Quite a bit of similarities, but they felt there was new stuff * Leopold talked about wildlife, these guys talked more about institutional changes * Not advocating a global govt. or anything, but still emphasize that it is a global ecosystem * We need to develop a new mental model => can view the question differently * A lot of talk about how individual acts are irrelevant … but although we don’t have a huge one, its about starting to think about the problem different * We are dealing with a collective action problem, but also a call to change our own individual value systems * If we were to adopt a new mental model, what does it mean to have virtue? * VIRTUE ETHICS? * Virtuous people serve as role models * Emphasis on virtue ethics is on the individual * Individual action is important * Growing need for memories as being important to connect with something like the Sand County Almanac as the world becomes more and more urban * “We need to live as citizens not conquerors”

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