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An Introduction to Sustainability Joe Rasmussen Philosophy 101 Rio Hondo College.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Sustainability Joe Rasmussen Philosophy 101 Rio Hondo College."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Sustainability Joe Rasmussen Philosophy 101 Rio Hondo College

2 Overview of Presentation Introduction to Sustainability Climate Change Green Building Human Health and Social Justice Pollution and Industry Food Production and Agriculture Conclusion

3 Sustainability Definition Sustainability has been defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (Brundtland Report, 1987). Above is a Conceptual Model of Sustainability, also referred to as the Triple Bottom Line: “People, Planet, and Profit”

4 Climate Change Understanding the Greenhouse Effect Ancient Sunlight vs. Present Sunlight Observing the Effects of Climate Change Climate Science vs. Propaganda Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

5 Understanding the Greenhouse Effect


7 Ancient Sunlight vs. Present Sunlight For billions of years, the Earth has been powered by present sunlight. For thousands of years, humans lived according to the limitations of present sunlight. Over the last few hundred years, humans have been capturing ancient sunlight and using it to power our lives in the form of fossil fuels.

8 Observing the Effects of Climate Change The effects of climate change are as diverse as the Earth itself. Here are a few effects: Desertification and Drought Rising Sea Levels Melting of Polar Sea Ice

9 Climate Science vs. Propaganda A consensus exists within peer-reviewed scientific research journals that climate change is a real phenomenon. Climate change is considered a scientific fact in a similar way to other scientific facts that go largely unchallenged. However, not everyone agrees that climate change is a real phenomenon.

10 Climate Science vs. Propaganda There are many examples of anti-climate change propaganda in the media. These are only a few…

11 Climate Science vs. Propaganda Does this remind you of anything? Similar types of progaganda have been used in the past. When a lack of scientific consensus exits, then other persuasive means must be used.

12 Reducing Our Carbon Footprint Even if we don’t believe in climate change, taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint will help human and environmental health. There are many things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint: Drive less, reduce energy use, recycle, buy durable goods, support local farms… What are your ideas?

13 On-line References U.S. EPA NASA Film Recommendation An Inconvenient Truth

14 Green Building What is green building? Why build green? What has Rio Hondo College done to build green?


16 The USGBC Leads the U.S. Green Building Industry Efforts

17 Building Green Accomplishes the Following:


19 Buildings are the Primary Source of Carbon Emissions



22 Green Buildings are Good for People

23 What Has Rio Hondo College Done to Build Green? New Library and Learning Resource Center is LEED certified. Grounds on campus use native and drought tolerant plants.

24 Human Health and Social Justice Sustainability and Human Health Social Justice Environmental Justice

25 Sustainability and Human Health Human health is dependent on environmental health. We all need a healthy environment. Environmental health is dependent on human activities, or the lack of human activities. Many of the activities that we engage in to be more green or sustainable are for human health. Can you think of any?

26 Social Justice There are multiple social inequities that exist among the diversity of people on this planet. Our societies cannot flourish and sustain themselves with these inequities in place. All people need to be able to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. All people must be treated with dignity and respect, and have equal opportunities for success. How can we better work toward these goals?

27 Environmental Justice “Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (U.S. EPA). Why is this important?

28 References On-line Resources: health/green-health-care.html health/green-health-care.html Recommended Videos nmental_justice/ nmental_justice/ Hawken-Blessed-Unrest-and- WiserEarth/VIDEO/452942/4315.html Hawken-Blessed-Unrest-and- WiserEarth/VIDEO/452942/4315.html

29 Pollution and Industry Pollution caused by individual activities Pollution caused by industrial activities What can we do to lessen our impact?

30 Pollution caused by Individuals All of us contribute to environmental pollution on a daily basis through a variety of activities. How do we pollute our environment? What can we do to prevent pollution?

31 Pollution caused by Industry Although individuals are responsible for the larger industries, in a way they “take on a life of their own” once they are created. Industrial pollution takes a number of forms. Can you think of any?

32 References On-line Resources Films Earth Days The 11 th Hour The 11 th Hour

33 Food Production and Agriculture Conventional vs. Organic Agriculture Factory Farming vs. Animal Rights

34 Conventional vs. Organic Farming For thousands of years, humans used simple organic farming methods to grow plants for food. Beginning mostly in the 20 th century, as major advances were made in chemistry, inorganic fertilizers and pest control chemicals were used.

35 Conventional vs. Organic Farming Industrial agriculture became the new convention, replacing traditional techniques. Today, agriculture has become agri-business and has become focused on making high profit margins rather than feeding people healthy food. Using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food is also a growing health concern.

36 Factory Farming vs. Animal Rights Much like traditional forms of agriculture, animals have been utilized for thousands of years for food. Traditionally, animals were treated with dignity and healthy living conditions were promoted. Factory farming of animals began during the same era that agriculture became industrialized.

37 Factory Farming vs. Animal Rights Many factory farming techniques deny animals the dignity of having basic “rights” to live a comfortable, healthy life. Factory farming can be environmentally harmful in many ways (i.e. waste, mortalities, etc.). Factory farming can also be harmful to human health in many ways (i.e. hormones, mad cow disease, antibiotics, food-borne illnesses, etc.)

38 References On-line Resources _farming/ _farming/ Films Food, Inc. The Future of Food Fast Food Nation

39 Conclusion What can we do? Educate yourself and others Join a service organization and take action Raise awareness in your community Make little and/or big changes in your lifestyle Any other ideas?

40 Thank You!

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