Environmentalism and Sustainability

Environmentalism and Sustainability

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4586-8.ch010
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Sustainability is maintaining equilibrium with the ecosystem. Four accounts of sustainability are examined. Unlimited economic and population growth will create more environmental problems and thus not produce sustainability. Reducing population and dealing with climate change will help but do not deal with modern technology’s threat. If humans come to realize that the ecosystem is primary, that realization will produce sustainability, but it needs a firmer basis than emotional commitment.
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Four Proposals Concerning Sustainability

I will first examine four different proposals about sustainability. Each has its own account of what features of the environment are worth saving or are necessary to save—whether human or nonhuman. Consequently, each has a different account of what is harmfully unsustainable. And then each also has a correspondingly different account of sustainability, of how we humans must modify our actions in order save valuable or necessary features of the environment.

The four accounts are:

  • Mark Lynas’(2011) technophile goal of raising the entire population of earth to first-world levels.

  • E. O. Wilson’s (2002) vision of cooperation between environmentalists and corporations.

  • Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 (2009), a detailed plan for attaining sustainability.

  • Dave Foreman’s (1991, 2011) agenda for protecting the earth.

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