class 22 defining sustainability cofc fall 2010 n.
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  1. Class 22: Defining Sustainability CofC Fall 2010 Sustainability

  2. Story of Stuff • Annie Leonard, Story

  3. Defining Sustainability • Sustainability Explained Animation (2m)

  4. Care Instructions for Sustainability • Sustainability: “things can keep going, and sustain themselves, and keep going into the future.” • Planet Sustainability: “can continue to do what it was designed to do” • Reduce dependence on fossil fuels • Reduce dependence on chemicals • Reduce destruction of nature • Remove barriers to meeting basic needs

  5. Our Enviro History • In NA, mainstream enviro discourses have “failed to halt advancing enviro degradation. Even more, these same discourses have failed to halt advancing social degradation. In spite of our overall optimism, we hold that things are getting worse, not better, and the trajectory of history is directly tied to, if not entirely caused by, the development of liberal capitalism as a means of production.”

  6. History  Sustainability • Our shared understanding of “sustainability” is less a scientific concept than an historical discourse through which we might imagine more hopeful futures.” • We need “new ways of talking about sustainability that will galvanize diverse and experimental forms of action b/c it is through such experimentation that we will find the vocabulary we need.” (p4)

  7. Themes toward PS • Consequentialism: idea of SD is first an ethical one…and that it is not the quality of the actions or actors that matters most, but the consequences of those actions • Pluralism: need heterogeneity, informality (lack of formal rule bound behavior) and trust  necessary for “complex social equity” • Determinism: Technological determinism (wait for tech to save us). Econ determinism, we imagine that econ precedes politics b/c politics are preconditioned by a “univ human nature hard wired to greed. Rather, authors argue that thisishistorical, and existing tech and econ situations “limit our choices” (p7)

  8. Themes toward PS, Part II • Secularization: Light  our cosmological status of other living things is not as important than our “attitudes and actions affect well-being. Move from myth of wilderness to actual conditions of place” Unsustainability is not a tech or econ problem, but a social one. • Transdisciplinarity: req both interdisc (hybrid knowledge in collaboration across disciplines) and transdisc (hybrid knowledge by subdisc teams to solve real problems) to address sustainability • Storylines: Making sense of narratives is more important than being “right about actions taken in the past by others. SD requires stories to make new habits attractive.” (p10)

  9. What is Sustainability? • Sustainability = resource sufficiency and functional integrity • Non substantive Sustainability: much of discourse is based on political, ethical, and cultural concerns—that have nothing to do with above (sufficiency) • Jamieson: Sustainability does little to explain human activities in terms of philosophy (moral obligations) and/or motivational power (little effect on behavior) • Sustainability must be more than optimization (or well being over time), it must be a by product of resource sufficiency and functional integrity of the system

  10. Studying and Employing Sustainability • Resource Sufficiency = Econ sustainability • Functional Integrity = Ecological sustainability • Equity Fairness = Social Sustainability • Environ + Soc Justice? • Sustainability as social mvmt • Sustainability = interests of labor, marginalized • Sustainability = storyline contested in locale

  11. Thompson’s conclusion • Social Sustainability (or non-substantive sustainability) amount to merely normative commitments and is insufficient. • Need empirical factors like resources & functionality • Yet, sustainability as social impetus is important and compensates for its vagueness. • Believes that storylines are important, esp around democracy and social justice

  12. Vids • Visions of Sustainable Future