Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 2 Post

Writer David Orr separates the ideas for sustainable development into two very clear ideological approaches in his essay detailing the concerns about urban development and preservation. His first account detailed, generally described as the technological view, concerns humans ability to more efficiently manage our resources that are available to us through development in technologies or changes in the market's management of resources. This follows the idea that humans have the ability to sculpt the environment and possess and ultimate and superior control over the forces of nature, and as a result should be able to transcend the conceived limits posed on his by our environment. In doing so, humans are following our natural desire to always develop further and consume and gain more, a perceived fundamental trait in human nature that forces us to constantly pursue excess. This view maintains that while the drive of humans to constantly consume can be destructive, it is controllable and can be made to work within the confines of our environment with improvement in technology efficiency, which would give us the ability to satisfy our drives and still provide current and future generations the ability to thrive. On the flip side, ecological sustainability is a direct change in the habits and the tendencies that have become the norm of human behavior. Ecological sustainability concerns the Earth's carrying capacity and finite number of resources as being immovable limits to human expansion and consumption. The limits imposed on us by our plant and available resources means that a complete cultural shift too changed consumption patterns is necessary for the prolonged survival of man, an ideal that holds each individual accountable for their practices. By working within the confines of our environment, the ecological approach to sustainability offers a system more focused on direct management and flexibilty to environmental changes and limitations. These two ideas are contrasted, obviously, to show detailed ideas following the two practices and how each idea would be completely achieved if enacted. While not exclusive of each other, the two philosophies are still completely divided to give the ramifications and consequences of each change being made on the environment. Since Orr and Robinson completely explain the two ideas as separates, readers will have a better idea of the effect that each idea with produce, and thus understand better how to implement the two in order to achieve sustainable yet developmental results. By having a full understanding of both ideas, the issues that could possibly arise out of changes that follow one line of reasoning could be counteracted by the implementation of a policy or change following the opposite strategy. Since different strategies can be applied to different aspects of sustainability, a more beneficial mix can be estimated and designed. An in between scenario that could reflect this is the use of improved technology but with regulated production and consumption. By improving and streamlining technological development, the use of resources will be almost guaranteed to improve efficiency of production of goods through our limited resources. The public regulation of consumption of goods means that although the private sector still has control of development and innovation of products, the regulated consumption will mean that excessive use of goods will no longer be possible. In order to remain competitive, firms will still improve upon products and the natural drive of humans to increase development will be fulfilled, yet the waste and over consumption of valuable resources will be eliminated.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week 1 Post

This semester, I would be really interested to learn more about what's being done to aid the movement towards urban sustainability by different groups or committees, whether that be government, non-profit groups, or other activists in the field. I am well aware of the different obstacles that are presented to people who strive for change and a more globally sustainable environment for future generations to live in. I understand the impact that money has and the grasp that huge corporations have over politicians and political procedures in this country due to the disproportionate amount of wealth the corporations command. However, I am very interested to find out the ways that certain people are working towards change, and mainly how they're maneuvering these obstacles constantly presented. Furthermore, I'd be interested to learn a little more about the history of urban sustainability, for instance how the current situation that has grown so heavily under fire became the way we live, and how it has been changed, for better or worse, since awareness of the serious implications of our style of living have begun to spread through the country, as well as some parts of the world.