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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: BALANCING HUMAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS. Dr. Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger Bridgewater State College Department of Political Science – Master of Public Administration Program. PART I: DEFINING THE TERMS AND GOALS. What is Sustainability?.
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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: BALANCING HUMAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS Dr. Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger Bridgewater State College Department of Political Science – Master of Public Administration Program
What is Sustainability? • Focuses on preserving natural capital for future generations • Natural capital is a set of resources made available by the environment such as water, air, land, and fossil fuels • The goal is to leave natural resources to future generations in the same quantities as are available today, or to increase these resources for the future
What is Sustainability? • Human welfare is balanced with the well-being of the environment through preservation and renewal • Both human needs and environmental needs are seen as important • Individuals conserve existing resources and also try to rebuild diminished resources
What is Sustainability? • It is a “philosophy”, wherein long-run management of resources is considered in decision making • We have to have a plan for the short-term and the long-term • Sustainability is a theoretical approach to managing resources more efficiently, effectively, and with greater emphasis on long-term well-being
What is Sustainable Development? • It is the action driven by a plan to maintain resource integrity and human well-being over the long-run as well as the short-run • “Sustainable development” requires action • A formal plan is necessary for success
What is Sustainable Development? • Resources are maintained, within systems, at the current levels or better • Planning uses systems theories to improve planning • By considering various relationships and overlapping interests in a system, the plan is able to better coordinate resources, reduce waste, and to eliminate unintended negative consequences.
Sustainable Development Goals Goals include: • Social, biological, and economic health • Human and environmental health • Inter -generational and intra-generation equity • Efficiency, citizen responsiveness, and equity in balance
Biological System Goals Genetic Diversity Resilience Productivity Examples -Provision of Public Health Care -School Nutrition Programs HUMAN and ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS Economic System Goals Efficiency Equity Social Welfare Social System Goals Citizen Participation Social Justice Examples -Income Redistribution -Employment Assistance -Outcome Measurements of Programming Examples -Voter Education -Civic Education -Public Education (Higher ed. and K-12) Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals • There is an inherent link between human welfare and the environment • Economic, social, and biological well-being is directly related to how well human beings manage their environment • Population growth, development sprawl and inefficient use of resources lead to degraded environments. • Degraded environments cannot serve people or other life systems well
Systems Theories and Sustainability • Sustainability and Sustainable Development are built on the foundations of systems theories and ecology • Systems theories suggest that we have to consider not only individual entities in understanding processes, but we also have to look at the bigger picture and how components act together. • Relationships of components matter
Systems Theories and Sustainability • Human and environmental needs are considered together • A macro-level and a micro-level perspective is necessary • In planning, it is important to identify overlaps between entities- collaboration can reduce waste of resources • It is possible that fixing one component of a system can have negative impacts on another part of the system- this must be managed
CLIMATE CHANGE WATER WASTE MANAGEMENT FOOD RENEWABLE ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY SYSTEMS COMPONENTS TRANSPORTATION OCEANS POPULATION CONSTRUCTION BIODIVERSITY AIR QUALITY
AN EXAMPLE- THE SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS • Bridgewater State College supports a number of systems components that must be considered concurrently for sustainable development. • Can you identify some of the systems components that BSC must include in a sustainability plan?
Negative Externalities • External costs of the transaction affecting third parties • These are impacts on others from a contract or agreement between other parties who are transacting business- negative impacts on the parties themselves are simply “costs” • Examples: Pollution, noise, passive smoking, lead remaining in soil after a factory has closed.
Positive Externalities • External benefits to the transaction affecting third parties • Examples: Immunization, research, education- if my neighbor keeps his or her yard and home maintained, then the value of my property increases
Externalities Lead to Market Failure • In the case of a negative externality, the price is too low and the quantity produced is too high • In the case of a positive externality, the price is too high and the quantity produced is too low
Remedies We want to reduce negative externalities and want to increase positive externalities - there are several “remedies” • Taxes- examples are taxes on pollution, cigarettes, and alcohol to reduce negative externalities. • Subsidies- examples are subsidies to education, research, and the arts to stimulate positive externalities • Regulation- assures output of the good at a more efficient level – examples fines on firms exceeding pollution limits, setting laws and policies in place • Assignment Property Rights- If the right to pollute were assigned to someone, and transactions costs are low, trades will occur that move to the efficient level.
Exercise-A Case to Consider A new factory is being built in your community. It will be located in an undeveloped area located next to a nature center/nature park. The nature park is a nonprofit organization funded by donations and grants. The park is home to a species of owl which is native to the area and which is on the endangered species list. The main food source of the owl is a rodent that is also native to the area. The rodent is not endangered, but is a species whose reproduction is significantly effected by carbon dioxide and other air pollutants. The plant will be producing air pollutants.
Exercise Questions for A Case to Consider • What are the potential positive and negative externalities? • Which of the following types of decisions or remedies would best address the issue (taxes, subsidies, regulation, assignment of property rights, negotiation, nothing at all)? Why? • What are the potential pitfalls of your choice?
PART IV: BROAD-BASED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Broad-Based Sustainable Development • We already discussed that economic, social, and biological criteria as critical in the definition of sustainable development • Early definitions of sustainable development, however, have been criticized for not properly integrating equity • How do we balance environmental needs with short-term and long-term human needs?
Related Barriers in Practice • Unequal distribution of resources • Potential clash between ecology/equity and economy • Devaluation of natural capital leading to increased risk and inequality • Increased resource scarcity from non-renewable sources • Social and economic infrastructures may not support environmentally sustainable practices
Broad-Based Sustainable Development • Broad-based sustainable development has been offered as a solution • It requires the integration of equity, along with economic, environmental, and social considerations • Any decision made at the public level should not place human beings with limited resources into the victim role while focusing on other issues.
Example • In the short-run, shifting food systems toward more organic processes may actually lead to increased food insecurity during the transition. The very poor may loose some of their access to the food they have today, although the current quality and quantity of the food may be unacceptable for long-term well-being of citizens. • How could this problem be addressed?
Ethical Stance • How do we decide whether we should move forward with infra-structural change? • Two of the potential options: • Greatest good for the greatest number of people • Greatest good for those with the lowest access
Ethical Stance • Greatest good for the greatest number of people (Utilitarianism) • In this case, we must assure that any planning will benefit all of the citizens relatively equally • Example: Requiring that all foods for sale have clear information labels serves all citizens
Ethical Stance • Greatest good for those with the least resources (Rawlsian) • In this case the plan will assure that those with the least access to resources have the great support. • Example: Assuring that children in poverty have access to breakfast and lunch at school to meet nutritional needs.
The Dilemma • Sustainable Development requires that both Utilitarian and Rawlsian principles be integrated. • We want to bring up resources for those with the least and also assure fairness in distribution across the board.
Generational Ethics • Inter-generational and Intra-generational Ethics also required • We have to make sure that future generations have access to resources. • We also have to make sure that there is equity among those who are alive today
Balancing Human and Environmental Needs • Human beings are dependent on the environment for well-being • Human beings are, in fact, a critical component of the environment and have a primary role in protecting it
Questions for Discussion • What are some examples of human needs competing with other environmental components? • What are some solutions for managing these competing needs?