IB 105 – Lecture 2

What are the 3 schools of thought on sustainable development?
1) Economic growth is necessary to finance pollution prevention

2) Science and technological advances can solve many environmental problems.

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3) Economic and environmental well-being are mutually reinforcing, and must be pursued simultaneously

How are the 3 schools alike and different?
1 & 2 – No need for change in environmental policies ; Environmental issues are a matter of setting priorities

3 – Need for change in fundamental economic policy ; Economic growth will create its own ruin if environmental issues are not priority

sustainable development
Meets present needs without compromising ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
sustainable growth
a contradiction – can’t keep growing indefinitely
sustainable use
applies only to renewable resources – use them at rates within their capacity for renewal
renewable resources
can be formed or regenerated by natural processes
examples of renewable resources
Sunlight
Wind
Vegetation
Animal Life
Air
Water
nonrenewable resources
cannot be replaced by natural processes, or those whose rate of replacement is exceptionally slow
examples of nonrenewable resources
Mineral resources
Fossil fuels
Gaylord Nelson’s 5 Characteristics of Sustainability
Renewability
Substitution
Interdependence
Adaptability
Insitutional commitment
Renewability
use renewable resources no faster than they can be replaced
Substitution
when possible, use renewable resources instead of nonrenewable resources
– difficult due to barriers to substitution (cost, society, etc.)
Interdependence
local communities recognize that the larger system must also be sustainable

– Does not get resources in a way that harms other communities, nor does it export waste

Adaptability
can change to take advantage of new opportunities

– Requires a diversified economy, educated citizens and a spirit of solidarity

Institutional Commitment
adopts laws that mandate sustainability

– Economy supports sustainable production and consumption

external costs
Expenses, monetary or otherwise, borne by someone other than person using the resource

often ignored in cost-benefit analysis

three primary theories of moral responsibility
Anthropocentric
Biocentric
Ecocentric
Anthropocentric
Responsibility derived from human interests

Only humans are morally significant

Preservation for future consumption

Biocentric
Life-centered rather than human centered

All life forms have a right to exist

Animal Rights

Ecocentric
Environment deserves direct moral consideration

The environment has an inherent value

Advocated by Aldo Leopold