policy issues

Sustainable Development, the Wave of the Future

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Sustainable business and sustainable development are recent terms and systems which  grew out of a green 21st century motto. So what does business and economic development look like when they are guided by the kinds of higher economic and ethical criteria like: environmental justice, duty to future generations, as well as aesthetic and ecological criteria. Therefore, we need to use people for profit but also for our planet; using each to help develop sustainability. This means providing socially environmentally sustainable/beneficial goods and services, while still being able to make money.

There are some great green initiatives out there, and some modern practices include using recycled materials, using less controversial (harmful substances), and using more alternative resources. One Californian company goes in and takes apart buildings and reuses the parts by selling them to poorer areas of the state. Others use recycled materials, building LEED certified buildings, encouraging conservation, reducing the amount of packaging a product uses.

Unfortuantely, today’s stigma of being environmentally friendly portrays an ignorance instilled in the modern, global citizen. Many of these people seem to equate being environmentally, and socially conscionable with being unprofitable. However, using renewable engergies and manufacturing processes, bio-mimcry for example, allows the localization of  markets to continuously improve products and services. These products and services have already been shown to be profitable. People do not realize how profitable these solutions are for us, and our world. Developing sustainably for the future should be logical conclusion of all sustainable business practices. This idea has been around since the start of the environmentalism movement, circa 1960s.

Sustainable development, including green engineering and architecture, uses local knowledge such as indigenous practices and services. Using these practices, architects and engineers alike have developed new techniques for the built environment; buildings blog 22.3are now taking cues from nature, and mimicing their structures and patterns to help strengthen the structures, lowering their impact on the environment. However, there are some downsides to be considered, one being an ignorant mindset embraced by millions subsiding in developed nations.

Developed nations have enveloped this idea of sustainable design and business, whereas developing, and under-developed nations, have not been quick to embrace this trend. Most of these “other” nations have dealt with famines, droughts, and other environmental problems instead. These problems have caused great stress amongst the high leaders of these unfortunate nations, great stifes, like the ones mentioned earlier, were once viewed as environmental but now are recognized to be exacerbated by socio-political strife and climate change. Climate change and resource allocation has directly affected these strifes, impeding further development; this creates a self perpetuating cycle.

This all leads one to question, what are the ethical considerations we should be providing the world? If we live comfortably does that mean we should care about how others are living, or help them develop sustainably? Do we really need to have any moral obligations towards nations which we have directly harmed through climate change? The world’s sustainable development relies on all of us to help each other out, and by helping the world’s companies become greener and developing new technologies together we can create a global economy without further destroying, and perhaps fixing most environmental issues. We need moral leadership. We need to be united, as one.

Categories: climate change, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, New York City, Organic Farming, policy issues, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability, Urban agriculture | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Toxic Display of Environmental Ethics

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Many skeptics of today believe that God created our great Earth for us humans, or that is how my father sees it. Seeing how is view point is skewed, I would take that with a grain of salt. Meaning, that is one opinion, of one man, lost amongst thousands of other opinions formed by humans daily. Human beings were created equal to every other specie we share this beloved planet with. So why do we treat animals, and other species so poorly? Because we are not the planet’s rulers, we are not the justifiers. We are all coinhabitants of planet Earth.

Society needs to see how we all have this innate connection with nature, we need it, it needs us, and we need each other. Unfortunately many people do not view the world this way, in fact the people who do, utilitarians, are usually criticized for focusing on the amount of happiness and ignoring fair distribution. Because most people do not believe in fair distribution of environmental burdens, countries are unequally subjected to environmental effects. Most countries affected are located in Africa, a continent which accepts toxic wastes for a cost.

Economics is the basis for how we decide to dispose of waste, like toxins. It is what is most economically efficient. Trading with countries, like ones in Africa, for space to dump our toxins in turn for various purchases, and materials. Yet, shouldn’t we respectblog 21.1 each others fundamental well being, which is living in a clean and healthy environment? Then, reapplying the equality of living to all creatures and organisms on the planet, Earth, is a must. Starting in our own backyard.

45% of Bronx residents live below the poverty line, those residents consists mostly of African Americans and Latinos. Tragically, most other people are against fixing situations that do not affect them personally, Fordham residents do not usually think twice about the surrounding community. Think about it, how often does a student hide their Iphone or Macbook from the streets of the Bronx. Never do they think about the community, and all the problems that the area has come across over time. Tons of areas here in America are veiled with ignorance, not realizing that there is an extreme difference amongst economic classes, races, nationalities, genders, and generations. Ignorance is a disease. A disease which consumes all of us, none of us think twice about other communities and situations which don’t affect us. This mentality, a theory of justice – veil of ignorance portrayed by John Rawls, needs to change and fast.

Just like Adam and Eve we do not know our place in society or the world. We need to bring environmental justice to the world, because it is the fair treatment of all. It brings meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to its development and implementation. The major benefits of implementing this idea is it allows a cleaner environment for all, with millions gaining access to cleaner environmental areas. Take someone like Peter Wenz, he believes people should receive an equal amount of environmental burden; therefore, those who consumer the most shall be burdened the blog 21.3most. Leading to less consumption of products, and materials, which results in less pollution emitted. If we are going to pollute, then we should suffer the consequences. We need a clean, pollutant-free environments. Without a sufficient amount of green space our world will be destroyed, and if we continue disposing harmful substances into the environment, like with the Love Canal incident, we will destroy ourselves.

There are a plethora of waves being made in the field of environmental ethics: Robert Bullard was able to push the movement forward with animated words about out future environment, Charles Lee’s 1987 study of toxic waste dumps and its correlation with race, and finally the fourteenth amendment created further equality amongst races involving the environment. I believe that these people, these solutions will pave a great future for not only our country but our world. Our world deserves a renewal. Without it will suffocate and die or possibly try restoring itself, who knows. Continuing this righteous path will permit our world and ourselves to regain the strenght we once had.

Categories: Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Ethical Egoism, ethics, human beings and the environment, Life, policy issues | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How many Humans Does it Take to Exploit the Earth?

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The Earth is filling up with people, their things, and their consumption related byproducts. Around 10,000 years the human population was made up of about five million individuals. It would not be until 1850 for the world’s population to reach over one billion individuals. Adjusting to this population explosion, mother Earth’s resources have been utilized to the extreme, taking a hit in its overall reserves. This begs the question: how much resources does the Earth have in store for us? Will its reserves be able to sustain an overall population north of seven billion individuals?

In 1798, Thomas Malthus published an essay on the Principles of Population. Malthus predicted that human population would start to grow exponentially and the production of food would not be able to keep up with demand. His prediction came true. Natural resources, such as: oil, timber, metals, minerals, and water, have been depleted. Worse, they are continuing to disappear, a time blog 17.3when our population really needs it — I mean it does not help that our population keeps growing, especially in developing nations. Perhaps the worst part was the number of people in poverty has reached over a billion individuals. These individuals are starving, or becoming extremely malnourished, just because not enough food is being produced where it is needed most. What can we do?

Differing philosophers have suggested alternative theories to combat this situation, one being Garrett Hardin. He suggests this concept of the “lifeboat.” It is a theory that states each nation has a carrying capacity based on its endowed resource and ingenuity. When a nation uses up all its resources it is not up to the other nations to help them out. Whereas utilitarian theorists often are criticized because they would help only those in need, but not necessarily closest to them first. Instead, they would help the people who are the most beneficial to the population as a whole. Our world has a carrying capacity, our resources are running out… maybe it is time we limit resource use and limit our population.

Population is an uncontrollable force, ever since technology has advanced population have been growing at an unfathomable rate. Humans need food, that is a thing, but the amount of food necessary to feed the entire planet is incredible. Just thinking about how much chemicals are needed or how much carbon dioxide is produced just sustain this world population, it is crazy. However, is it fair for us to misuse this planet, to over populate it while other species continue to dwindle in numbers?

Our world was designed from the beginning to withstand a certain number of each creature, but when that number exceeds its limit things will go haywire. Resources will disappear, and land will disappear for all, including species which have maintained their populations and their use of resources. Then, if I am to be bold, humans do not deserve ownership of the Earth and her resources. Maybe, just maybe, animals deserve a larger chunk of the world’s global resource change.

We need population control, take, for instance a law put into place similar to China’s one child policy, or simple family planning. I do not know if most will take this sitting down, but they will have to… I mean who is gonna sit there and let the government tell him or her how many children they can have. It will not be easy, at all. However, if we do not do anything about this exponential growth we will meet our demise. Yes, we do not know the official carrying capacity of the planet, let alone the United States, but what I do know is the amount of people living on this planet is not natural.

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Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, human beings and the environment, New York City, policy issues, Poorer nations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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