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

Who is Made Worse off?

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The past few blogs explored economic and ethical problems with the libertarian free market environmental ethics idea, Baxter’s. There are different kinds of  problems arising from this situation, mainly market failures, ethical challenges, who is made worse off, and is the free market sufficient by itself.

Market failures stem from this idea of pareto inefficiences (moral extensionism). Failing to extend, as well as include, negative blog 18.2external costs, tragedy of the commons, overpopulation, into the market. Marketing our world, and its resources as infinite cause the multitude of resources being degraded, and lost.

Ethical challenges have grown from our markets failure of moral extensionism, the most obvious being who should be made better off, and who should be made worse off. Endangering the health of many species, our ethical questioning has divided us a population. Should animals receive full treatment, even without rational thought; or should humans control the welfare of all species? However, it is our duty to future generations to “distribute justice” fairly. Harming generations of non-human species created a lopsided, decapitated world lacking niche, and big time species to continue on the ecosystems vitality.

Making the question, “Who should be made worse off,” even more difficult then prior thought. Amongst the world’s citizens, most believe humans shall be held the highest amongst God’s creatures, yet that is not how our world was created. No one, not one specie, is held more prominently than another. While we live in a upside-down, backwards world, one thing still remains true: we are all God’s creatures — God had created this Earth and all within it in seven days, we cannot command creatures to move off and die.

Deciding whether or not the free market is qualified to run itself remains indecipherable. While our nations maintain proper control of their sovereign area, does not mean they contain all that goes on within their borders. Thus, redesigning higher political powers with reestablished ethical values is a priority. Too much of our markets, as well as political heads, measure species in terms of economic value, possibly social value too. Breaking this perception could help species’ cause, but how?

First off, we must include the extension of protection towards various species besides humans, and the price of any object extracted from the environment should have price where externalities are reflected. Establishing markets to create legally transferable property rights for environmental goods and services and including external pricing will give more rights to animals. Servicing mankind for years, ecosystems shall become protected and any source removed from its land shall be included in the final price of that material or animal, species. Focusing more on the benefits a variety of species provide allows us humans to understand our interdependence on a plethora of species; we need them to thrive, survive.

Categories: Egoism, Environmental Ethics, human beings and the environment, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporation Selfishness

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I feel like all I talk about is human’s innate need to be selfish, and to think only of oneself. I mean human are selfish creatures, but there are humans who are not selfish but think of others as well. Meaning they care about other species besides humans, a rare quality. In the late 1960’s the grass movement began with the “teach in” program. This program helped educate the masses of environmental issues inflicted by industrial societies. Taking place on April, 22nd every year it would later go on to become earth day. Issues came up afterwards, including Love Canal and Three Mile Island, and henceforth the term environmentalism included many different philosophies. Meaning,

“a philosophy that identifies wild landscapes with wholeness and aesthetic beauty and asserts that such landscapes, along with their plant and animal species, possess an inherent value beyond any economic value.”

Calling for the legal protection of environments and species to prevent all from being absorbed into now commonplace, industrial society. Industrial societies are incompatible with natural systems and if us humans are going to progress further we must understand who to live best as members of plant and animal communities.

Industry is taking over, take for example Nestle Corporation. This corporation is trying to buy up aquifers and water sources in the north but some counties, cities and states are fighting back. Many townships, are now declaring:

“Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve within the Town of Shapleigh. It further decreed that any town resident had “standing” to seek relief for damages caused to nature – permitting, for example, a lawsuit on behalf of a stream.”

Natural systems have every right to become protected, and if they cannot protect themselves we must protect them from greedy corporations. Heinous crimes such as buying up all the water/aquifers should be punishable against law because no one has the right to own all of that, just like the colonists and the indians of the early years. John Winthrop said that because they did not cultivate their land we had a natural right to secure their land for ourselves.


Like the indians, the people of Maine, Roosevelt or early sports-hunters, we all need to protect our environment. Protecting it will benefit us as well as fellow species of the Earth, and corporation greed should end with laws that prevent their greediness from destroying the good green Earth.

I just wonder where all of this comes from, this greed I mean, religion? Religion always seems to cause issues. Some religions like christianity believe that nature is not here for any other reason but to serve man, so basically slavery – a looming sense of anthropocentrism appears. However, not all religions think this way, many eastern religions believe that we should be one with nature, our spirits that is. Buddhism, Zaoism, early Greco-Roman religions (had many Gods referring to different natural phenomenons) believed life coexisted with nature. However, the question still remained whether or not we should attach any morals to natural systems and species.

Environmentalism will keep moving forward thanks to its early founders, and heres hoping naysayers follow suit.

Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Life, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Economics, Ecology Stylized.

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Homes, automobiles, movie theaters, broadway plays, masseur, universities, and the retail environment provide the good and service all Americans expect of society today. Today’s society is built upon this regiment of buying goods/services and then selling those goods/services to customers.

For example, my own ecological footprint starts off with what I consume everyday which mostly consists of chicken, vegetables, and some processed foods (whoops). Once in a while I will consumer beef or lamb, but not too often, and I never eat fish. Then it displays the influence I have on the environment based on my humble abode, which is approximately 3800-4000 square feet. Now, my home is not very green in the way of using alternative resources to supply our power needs. Supplying our needs is basic electricity which adds to my footprint. Finally, it accounts transportation, personal as well as public transportation. I am currently at school so traveling by car is not often the case, whereas taking public transit is more applicable to my current living situation. In total, I require around 5.1 Earths in order to sustain my lifestyle. In turn, this means that in order to survive I would need five Earth’s resources over the course of my lifetime in order to maintain my current lifestyle.

However, today customers are seeking a shift in the products/services they purchase, and customers want organic, home-grown products. Yet, people are not willing to pay the price for these types of products, and it makes one think… what would the price be with the inclusion of ecosystem services/externalities. What is this idea of ecological economics? Ecological economics refers to the idea of the co-evolution of our own economic systems and the natural ecosystems over a period of time.

First off, what are ecosystem services? Well ecosystem services are natural systems that provide free benefits for human-kind, like the purification of water and air/pollution, good conditions for growing food, weather moderation, and overall well-being for us humans.

Ok with that defined I want to jump into the first article, “Ecosystems Come to New York”. Overall, this article pushes for the idea of using natural systems, aka ecosystems By NYBG, Flickrand their services, to help purify/cleanse our water/air/anything else we pollute, because it is much cheaper and much better than our industrial replication. Thus, we need to spend money, less however when compared to the construction and maintenance of an industrial complex, to fix our local watersheds. Like attorney General Cuomo is allocating 7 million dollars to the Bronx river area to help clean, fix and maintain the watershed.

However, I am bit confused on that situation. Why is Cuomo giving 7 million dollars, was it a part of a case? Is 7 million dollars even enough? What is enough? When will all of it be delivered? Is it all for this area?

Next, the Biophilia article stresses the belief that everyone, from children to adults, need to be engaged, in some shape and form, with the natural environment.  The natural environment is where we humans feel best; it is where we become our optimal selves. Basically, we have deep-love, and connection, with nature. Therefore, we should be spending more time outside like the no child left inside suggests.

So is it possible to instill this idea in our culture, meaning can we include this idea in our schools, corporations, colleges, etc…? (high school recess sort of idea) Should there be laws that mandate outside sessions, or breaks?

The final article explains in great detail the effects of our wants and needs on the ecosystems of the world. Our world is telling us we need to find an answer, we need to protect our ecosystems; and since we caused these problems I’m pretty sure we should start finding the solutions. Just by reading the article and seeing all those staggering statistics broke my heart. I know that things like eutrophication and invasive species, loss of genetic/bio diversity, erosion, and etc. are all major problems of the environment but to read and see the graphs really did help to put things in perspective. For example, tons of world’s population is moving towards dryland; in fact, 2/3 of the them leave there. However, this dry land barely gets any waterfall/does not have much in the way of stored/underground water. Thus, water is shipped, soil is being degraded, and water in that area is being lost. These areas also need timber. So, timber is being shipped in from everywhere else. That means degradation to world’s forests.

Us humans need these systems and the author knows that, and the author suggest ways economically how we can go about that. How we can fix our mistakes, but we got to make sure that our mistakes do not happen again. Therefore we have to make sure to continue checking on our watersheds, and maintain them. Fix our mistakes is what we need to do, and viably, we can do it and honestly it could even help our bottom line.

This does pose some questions, like how far is too far? When will we stop? What can show Americans what is happening? Education could be a great tool, how can we use that tool? Maybe we can include this concept as a mandatory class in today’s high schools?

Categories: Environmental Policy, Life, Priorities, Retail | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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