IB 105 – Lecture 2

What are the 3 schools of thought on sustainable development?
1) Economic growth is necessary to finance pollution prevention2) Science and technological advances can solve many environmental problems.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 priorities3 – 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
SunlightWindVegetationAnimal LifeAir 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
RenewabilitySubstitutionInterdependenceAdaptabilityInsitutional 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 resourceoften ignored in cost-benefit analysis
three primary theories of moral responsibility
AnthropocentricBiocentricEcocentric
Anthropocentric
Responsibility derived from human interestsOnly humans are morally significantPreservation for future consumption
Biocentric
Life-centered rather than human centeredAll life forms have a right to existAnimal Rights
Ecocentric
Environment deserves direct moral considerationThe environment has an inherent valueAdvocated by Aldo Leopold