Social Ecological Economic Sustainable Bearable Viable Equitable
A resource is renewable if: It can be replenished by natural processes at a rate equal to, or faster than, its rate of consumption One must consider if: Energy resources are renewable? Agricultural resources are renewable? Water resources are renewable?
Sustainability is a much more difficult term to define and has many connotations 1987 Brundtland Commission * defined sustainability…“to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” *United Nations "Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development." General Assembly Resolution 42/187, 11 December 1987.
The 1987 Brundtland definition is often adapted for a variety of purposes Sustainable development Sustainable agriculture Sustainable communities Sustainable energy
Social Ecological Economic Sustainable Bearable Viable Equitable The three pillars of sustainability are social, Ecological and economic.
Management of human consumption Energy Water Food Materials and waste Environmental management Air/atmosphere Water (freshwater & oceans) Land use
Address decoupling of environmental degradation and economic growth (avoid growth that depletes ecosystem services) Account for value of ecosystem services Recognize economic opportunity while integrating with ecological and social concerns
Enable peace, security and social justice to decrease poverty, to allow for equitable resource allocation and to promote human rights and gender equality Support human settlements to create self- reliant communities
Earth Life Environment Sustainability requires a holistic approach Social Ecological Economic Sustainable
Q: Must something be renewable to be considered “sustainable?” A: YES, if a resource is renewable, if it can be replenished at a rate equal to or greater than it is being used, then it is sustainable! Q: Must something be sustainable to be considered “renewable?” A: NO, renewable resources can be exploited, resulting in environmental degradation Q: Are all renewable resources sustainable? A: NO, for example: A large hydro dam may provide renewable power, but it might drastically alter the environment and displace human populations
Photos by B. Ballard
Photos by P. Hofmeyer
Large Hydro: Hoover Dam [Source: Wikimedia Commons, accessed 7/18/2013] Irrigated & fertilized corn field [Source: Wikimedia Commons, accessed 7/18/2013]
Are humans living sustainably? In order to be sustainable, the Earth’s resources must first replenish themselves equal to our consumption rate
Wind Solar Waste biofuels Crop rotation No till No fertilization Micro hydro Low enthalpy geothermal Dedicated bioenergy crops Crop rotation Sparing use of Fertilizers/pesticides Large geothermal Large Hydro Dedicated bioenergy crops Monoculture farming Intensive pesticides Intensive herbicides Natural Gas Nuclear Coal and Oil Slash and burn agriculture Most sustainableLeast sustainable
Two areas in which to improve the sustainability of your lifestyle: Transportation: Reduce/eliminate fossil fuel use Diet: Eat food produced locally
The mean distance for fruits and vegetables to get onto my dinner plate is 1,494 miles This is not including imported fruits and vegetables like pineapples, artichokes, kiwis, mangoes, and so on. Source: Leopold Center report “Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions”, June 2001.