After completing this chapter you should be able to...
- Define sustainability and the sustainability paradigm
- Describe the historic events that lead to the sustainability paradigm
- Describe how ethics and moral extensionism connect to sustainability
- Understand that true sustainability promotes environmental equity and justice, thus eliminating environmental racism
- Describe the evolution of ethics leading to the modern environmental ethic
- Understand how environmental policy has changed based on movements and need in the US
- Define what sustainable cities are
- Describe how sprawl is a hindrance to sustainable cities
- Describe how sustainable lifestyle choices influence sustainability
- Acknowledge that the Bionic World is a myth
Sustainability is focused on meeting current needs without compromising the future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability is a paradigm created out of necessity from our past negligence to society, ecology, and economy (the three main components of sustainability).
Ethics plays a large role in addressing current and future sustainability goals necessitated from historic action/inaction. This is especially true for matters of environmental justice and racism, in addition to environmental policies and movements.
Sustainable cities are also discussed to address the large-scale sustainability concerns of how humanity lives. Sprawl is the biggest hindrance for creating the sustainable city. There are two main types of sprawl, low-density and high-density, that can be observed in many differently populated city layouts.
The ecological footprint is a tool to help illustrate the imbalance between lifestyles and behaviors and what is ecologically sustainable. In order to decrease ecological footprints, in addition to environmental injustices, sustainability promotes common cause sustainability goals. These emphasize that most goals humanity have are the same, and that these should be what both motivate and unite us as we move towards an uncertain future. In addition, humanity should also consider how we are approaching meeting these goals. The myth of the bionic world warns us not to make assumptions or take the easy way out. Only through tough decisions can we ensure an equitable and sustainable future.
Rachel Schleiger (CC-BY-NC)