Presentation on theme: "What is Sustainability? Is a Sustainable World Possible?"— Presentation transcript:
1 What is Sustainability? Is a Sustainable World Possible? Md Saidul Islam (Prof Said)Assistant Professor of SociologyNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
2 Let’s hear something different and disturbing 1. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS:Nearly 3.5 billion people live on less than two dollars a day.The Gross Domestic Product of the poorest 48 nations (which is a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s 3 richest people combined.1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world).8 million people die because they are too poor to stay alive.800 million people go hungry each day.50,000 people are dying every day because of poverty and poverty-related diseases
4 2. ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS When environment is exploited more than its recycling and regeneration capacity.Two kinds:Resource depletion: when a resource people value is in short supply.Pollution: when human actions change ecosystems in undesirable way.
5 Examples of environmental problems acid rainair pollutionSmog and hazedeforestationglobal warminggreenhouse effectindoor air pollutionlandfill over-crowdinglow level nuclear wastesozone depletionradiation from power linesspecies extinctiontoxic waste dumpdesertification
7 Changing the environment… Each day humans:Consume 54% of the accessible runoff water on earth.Mine more materials from the earth than the natural erosion of all earth’s rivers.Add over 50 million tons of carbon to the atmosphere.Destroy 180 square miles of tropical rain forest.Create over 60 square miles of desert.Eliminate at least 74 animal or plant species.Erode 70 to 80 million tons of topsoil.Add around 1,400 tons of CFCs to the stratosphere.High-risk of ecological problems:Wildlife ecological alternation/destructionSpecies extinction and loss of biodiversityStratosphere ozone depletionGlobal climate changeHigh-risk health problems:Indoor air pollutionOutdoor air pollutionWorkers’ exposure to industrial or farm chemicalsPollutants in drinking waterPesticide residues on foodToxic chemicals in consumer food
8 Changing the environment… Waste and pollution: Americans, for example, through away:Enough vehicle tires to encircle the planet almost three timesEnough aluminum to rebuild the country’s entire commercial airline fleet every monthsAbout 2.5 million non-returnable plastic bottles each yearEnough disposable diapers per year which, if lined up to end, would reach to the moon and back seven timesAbout 1.5 billion pounds of edible food per yearEnough office paper to build a wall 11 feet high across the country from New York City to San Francisco.
9 Global crises and issues? Economic: Great Recession—unemployment, poverty, ripple effect in the rest of the world.Social: Extreme and growing inequality, poverty; while a tiny minority has experienced soaring incomes and accumulated grand fortunes.Environmental: Excessive human consumption and waste and a spate of terrible technologies are disrupting Earth’s climate, reducing Earth’s capacity to support life.Political: Reflected in governmental paralysis and a democracy that is weak, shallow, and corrupted—”the best democracy that money can buy”. Politicians around the world have “collective irresponsibility” on the global commons.
10 Big Questions Why? How? With what effects? Is there any solutions? Why do/don’t some solutions work?What can we do?One answer is: SUSTAINABILITY
11 SUSTAINABILITY: Definition “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
12 SUSTAINABILITY: Goals Three goals of sustainable development:Economic growthEnvironmental protectionSocial equityIncorporation of sustainable development in institutions:USAIDWorld Bank
13 SUSTAINABILITY: Ecological modernization approach Capitalism is flexible enough to embrace a movement in the direction of a “sustainable capitalism”Neither questions the existing capitalist economic and political arrangements nor advocates for retreating to a world of simplicityArgues for a further modernization (“super-industrialization”) through: promoting environmentally friendly technologies, green consumerism, and transformation of state policies towards sustainability
14 Ecological modernization: Huber (1982, 1985) Industrial breakthroughIndustrial revolutionConstruction of Industrial SocietyManufacturing and ServiceSuper-industrializationEcological switchover of the industrial systemEcological ModernizationGreen economy, natural capitalismEcological modernization: Huber (1982, 1985)
15 Ecological modernization… Adoption of environmental certification regimes in the global agro-food system particularly in aquaculture to address the troubled social and environmental legacies is an example of ecological modernization
16 Ecological modernization: how to achieve Free-market environmentalismVoluntary actions by corporations and consumers can improve the environmentChange through green consumerism and boycotting harmful productsCERES (Coalition for environmentally responsible Economies ): voluntary environmental reporting; ongoing environmental improvements (e.g., American airlines, Bethlehem Steels, GM, Sonoco)3M: Minnesota Mining and ManufacturingISO: International Standard Organization3P: Pollution Prevention Policy [product reformulation; process modification; equipment design; recycling/reuse of waste]
17 Ecological modernization… Ideal situation for “green consumerism”
18 Ecological modernization: how to achieve B. Policy/Reformist Sustainable development:It looks at how policies can be reformed to integrate sustainable developmentAl Gore advocated for “greening” within the bounds of economic growthPolitical actors at all levels (local, state, national, international) take reformist approach“Don’t change the system; adapt it to meet the goals of environment, economy, and social equity.”
19 What you can do… About water: Don’t leave tap running while you are doing other thingsIf you buy a new dishwasher, get an energy-efficient oneTake showers rather than bathsWhen you buy a new toilet, buy a water saving oneInstall a flow constrictor device on faucets, particularly your shower-head
21 It requires international agreements on sustainability… So, it is immensely challenging
22 Because of power conflict, differences of opinion, diverse local dynamics… Last Month A World-Wide Survey Was Conducted By The UN. The Only Question Asked Was..."Could You Please Give Your Honest Opinion About Solutions To The Food Shortage In The Rest Of The world ?"The Survey Was A Massive Failure Because Of The Following:In Western Europe: They Didn't Know What "Shortage" Meant.In Africa: They Didn't Know What "Food" Meant.In China: They Didn't Know What "Opinion" Meant.In The Middle East: They Didn't Know What "Solution" meant.In South America: They Didn't Know What "Please" Meant.In The USA: They Didn't Know What "The Rest Of The World" meant.In The Indian Subcontinent: They Didn't Know What "Honest" Meant.