Sustainability

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

Leopold the Helper

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Aldo Leopold  “was an American author, scientists, ecologist, forester and environmentalist. A professor at the University of Wisconsin, Leopold was best known
for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949). Leopold was the leader in the creation of the modern environmental ethics, as well as the movement for wilderness conservation. Speaking of conservation, Leopold critiques the economic approach of the conservationist traditions, he was a radical. Radically altering the way we perceived land was Leopold’s belief.

We are all a part of society, we are interdependent of each other; therefore, we need to stop and smell the roses, or the dying ones that is. Us Americans have a misconception of how our land works because we think if we earn it we keep it. We have destroyed our lands. Our world must follow in the balance of its natural system/cycle.

We must treat land correctly and ethically, but the question remains what are we in community with? Maybe we are all one, people, all orientations of people, plants and animals. We all must work together, ethically, to keep the land strong and chugging along. However, Leopold believes we should think Earth first and people second. Who knows I am in different on the subject. I personally believe that humans do not deserve the Earth. The Earth just gives and gives but we destroy in return, not something I would want.

Look at us humans, we are destroying the natural cycles, and the land pyramid. We make fish and other animals for our food. What happened to animals growing by themselves, naturally? Our world has gone down in the tubes Leopold would say because we no longer rely on natural systems of the land but on our own inclinations and wants.

This way of thought, destroying the land for its resources has been done for centuries but it could change if we incorporate conservation into our economic system. How, well that beats me but if it becomes instilled into our system the likelihood of people following will increase tenfold.

Categories: climate change, Environmental Policy, Life, Priorities, 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.

WE DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT. LISTEN HERE NESTLE.

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

GMOS. Gross, Mechanical, Organisms.

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With the environment being turned on its head, thanks to climate change, the world seems to be trying to create new substances that fit in with a particular environment, even if, genetically, they do not. Genetics, how does that factor into the recent environmental issues? Well, they are called GMOS. They are Genetically Modified Organisms. Generating a lot of fuss, GMOS are restructured organisms which are altered to better fit particular environments where normally they would not be able to live.

GMOS can be quite beneficial. For one, they can help give countries in dire need of sustenance, food; but it can also destroy the biodiversity of an area. And that seems to be the theme of GMOs, their negatives outweigh their positives. All of this is a cause of industrial agriculture where everything is made to help grow crops and plants in areas they have never grown before. Fertilizers are a huge part of the problem. Yes, fertilizers help grow plants/crops and keep away plant killing/destroying insects but it destroys biodiversity, as in good insects and plant species. Therefore, all the foods we are eating… what are they? Are the foods we eat actually food or over fertilized, lab-grown experiments?

Stemming back, the problem seems to originate from increasing power of large corporations over farmers. Evolving corporations have learned to own their designs, patents. Patenting genetic modifications, GMOS, to make sure that no farmer can take their design and sell it, creating a monopoly. Take for example Monsanto, this corporation has created what they call “terminator seeds.” These seeds have helped create extreme dependences of farmers on their corporations. Corporations crave this, they want money. Meaning, farmers are changing their tactics and falling for these corporate tricks. Reiterating the idea, WHAT ARE WE EATING?

These hybrids, these transgenic crops, are changing the environment, for the worse. Worsening the environment by helping create bacterial strands which are found in soil. These strands help deplete the biodiversity within the area by affecting surrounding species of plants and insects. Looking at Monsanto’s potato hybrid, one may see the toxin it secretes into the soil which is lethal to the Colorado Potato Beetle, and this is Monsanto’s intellectual property.

All of this reminds me of Food inc. with the mentioning of all these GMOS and food patents. We are doing the job of natural selection instead of letting nature run its course. Best fitting nature is the job of natural selection but GMOS are replacing that by creating the best fit from the beginning, meaning new species may not even get a chance. We are choosing the best trait, we are choosing where it goes and we are choosing what is best fit for the overall ecology of the earth. Organisms no longer grow with food, biodiversity is shrinking and our world is worsening.

Should these factory farms exist? Should GMOS be allowed? Should one be able to patent food/crops? All these are excellent questions, but I do not feel great answering them until the world realizes what is going on. Documentaries can help but it will not work until the world sees it, and until then our world will lose a lot in terms of biodiversity.

 

Categories: climate change, Environmental Policy, Life, Organic Farming, Priorities, Sustainability | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

New York, New York City & Fordham

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New York city is an important city for the United States. It houses millions of people and generates billions in profit/tax revenue each and every year. Walking through New York city is a unique prospect, but its degrading to the environment. Looking back on Manhattan’s history and ecology is the Manhatta Project.

Projecting New York City’s early look shows a long wooded island, with wetlands and streams coming down from the shower. Beavers, river otters and other animals existed amongst these rivers and streams, and Manhattan then would be considered what Yellowstone is today. Speaking ecologically, Manhattan’s diversity was broad, befitting of most national parks. All of this started by looking back at past maps of the island, and the area; showing all the original landscape of Manhattan. Helping scientists learn about the geo-features of the island, what the Native Americans were doing, what species existed and what the soil was like. The landscape was recreated.

All of this fits in with New York’s Planyc. This project will lead the way forward to creating the first sustainable city in America. Planning to change its transportation systems, help maximize clean air and minimize carbon, and air pollution. Developing air initiatives, looking at alternative fuel vehicles and clean burning materials for energy and how to reduce the waste produced within the city.

This can stem back into the Bronx River restoration project, a project trying to fix the environmental degradation that has occurred along its banks for decades. Reconstructing from the bottom up will take decades but it reconstruction is working. People are restoring habitat, removing invasive species, fixing erosion all by looking at historical maps of the Bronx River. One can even look at the older maps of Fordham’s campus to see what has happened over the past decades degrading our schools landscape, soil, water and air.

Fordham is all about flashiness. Flashing its credentials is priority number one, of course. However, factoring Fordham’s recent sustainability report card Fordham fails to impress and flash its larger than life credentials. Yes, I love my school; but sometimes the ostentatiousness surrounding its every move gets quite annoying, actually really annoying.

Breaking away from this behavior would be beneficial, and it would actually show off Fordham’s sustainability plan. I mean other schools are doing the same so why not play up the plan? Receiving a B, NYU beat us with its sustainability plan, whereas we received a C+. Come on Fordham, we need to get everyone involved, students and all. Student body needs to become more consensus about this plan/environmental problem.

It is for all our futures, so lets move forward, help living sustainable gain traction amongst students, professors and parents. Lets beat other schools and become a green triumphant example of sustainability amongst top-tier schools

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, New York City, Priorities, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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