Up Scenic Point
I thank the rocks
And the plants
And the animals
For being part of me
As I am part of them
Not from each other
We are each other
As we human beings
Are all one another
The Indian state of Kerala has developed in a unique way over the last century. A socialist state government promoted education and ecological conservation before these issues were common place among other Indian states. These policies have resulted in a state where (1) a majority of the citizens are multilingual; (2) where the infant death rate is lower than that of the United States; (3) where the average life expectancy is equal to that of most first world nations; and (4) where ecological conservation is practiced, fostered from an understanding of the interconnectedness between society and the natural world.
Welcome to the first issue of The Sustainability Review, an online, biannual publication hosting art, opinion and research contributions. TSR is associated with Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, but is open to participation and contribution from people across and outside of academia. TSR has two overarching goals: to communicate the concepts, challenges and approaches of sustainability, sustainability science and sustainable thinking, and to engage people from all fields in discussions about sustainability topics through accessible and interesting writing and other communication forms, such as photography. At the very least, the editors of this inaugural issue hope to contribute to and help shape sustainability discussions.
TSR publishes contributions explaining complex concepts and issues in an accessible and engaging way. It also seeks to involve people who might be shut out from typical sustainability discourse, particularly in academic settings. TSR provides a forum for a spectrum of views on sustainability – from sustainable enterprise to community building and environmental justice concerns. The first issue includes research, essays and art pieces demonstrating a wide range of sustainability thought. It includes perspectives on academic innovation with ASU leading the way from ASU President Michael Crow (American Research Universities Must Lead Our Emergence From the Stone Age), PepsiCo’s water conservation and waste management initiatives in India (Environmental Management of Multinational Corporations in India: The Case of PepsiCo), and various consumption practices and consequences (Rio Salado Walk; Consuming the Land; Commingled Sorting Facility; Too Much of a Good Thing: The Relationship Between Money and Happiness in a Post-Industrial Society). It highlights questions such as, How do we measure the value of different species and ecosystems (The Services of the Praying Mantis)? What does building knowledge for sustainability mean in the context of higher learning institutions (Students’ Perspective on Building Knowledge for Sustainability)?
By Bradford Pete-Hill
In the last decade, the advancement of the renewable energy industry in the United States has depended primarily on the efforts of product manufacturers and environmental groups. They have used in-house marketing and outreach programs to gain the public’s interest in renewable energy and to explain the benefits of clean technologies. However, in order for the renewable energy industry to further its market expansion in the U.S., it should transition from self-promoting programs to those that employ and rely on state and regional electric utility1 companies for more substantial growth.
By Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson and Thaddeus R. Miller
* Op-Ed previously published on February 2009 in the Newsletter of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), Pages 24-25; http://www.ecoeco.org/pdf/Feb2009.pdf
Newsletter editor: Bernardo Aguilar-González
In the fall of 2007, we joined twenty-eight other students as the first class in the School of Sustainability (SOS) at Arizona State University. As one of the nation’s first schools to offer degrees in Sustainability, we knew that we were embarking on an experiment. Previous training in environmental science and policy, as well as exposure to transdiciplinary fields such as ecological economics, which work across academic disciplines and in conjunction with society, partially prepared us for the problems and opportunities that arise when obtaining a degree in Sustainability.
Building knowledge for sustainability demands exposure to such academic backgrounds, and much more. The School of Sustainability has brought in students and faculty from completely different fields, such as anthropology, ecology, economics, engineering, geography, geology, and the humanities, to engage with each other and sustainability. This unique blend of personnel has a profound effect on the way we work across academic disciplines and approach real-world issues.
As we–students and future scholars and practitioners in the field–attempt to build knowledge for sustainability that will contribute to solutions for society’s problems, we face what we see as three key questions:
1) How do we become agents of change, while working in the context of academic institutional constraints?
2) How do academic institutions balance the production of more stable, disciplinary knowledge with innovative knowledge for sustainability?
3) How do programs like SOS develop and maintain an identity while adapting to an evolving societal discourse around sustainability?
By Kristen Faye Bean, MSW
Although many sustainability concerns concentrate on environmental issues, the United States’ (U.S.) economic downturn that began in December 2007 highlights issues of economic sustainability. The entire U.S. economy is struggling to sustain the power that it has upheld in the world economy. Businesses worry about maintaining profits with minimal costs, and employees are concerned about job sustainability. Employers have begun to focus on aspects of their business that are more robust to economic downturn. The layoffs since December 2007 have been distributed among many different industries; the third quarter of 2009 showed that manufacturing firms, construction, professional and technical services, and management of companies and enterprises had experienced mass layoffs (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Because of the relatively equal distribution of layoffs, it is unclear what types of employees businesses are relying on to sustain profits with minimal costs. This paper explores whether employees with disabilities are an integral labor market for businesses during weak economic periods.
The Salt River Project follows the Salt River from the recreation areas East of Phoenix out to the Gillespie Dam West of Phoenix. It is the story of an urban desert river.
The project begins with the conceptual framework provided by high water marks. Clumps of dirt, plastic bags and plant growth five feet up in trees serve as a reminder that the dry riverbed is not dead, but only dormant. Too often in the desert, water concerns orbit around the idea that we’re using up all our resources and that the dryness is a sign of the dismal future. Though transient communities have made the river channel home, and others use it as a dumping ground, sooner or later the water will rise again. Everything found in the channel is colored with this knowledge. … Continue Reading
By Michael M. Crow
During the past few years many of us may have confronted the disturbing realization that the standard operating procedures of our contemporary culture often fall short of the mark or even produce entirely unintended consequences. The near-meltdown of global economic markets and our faltering efforts to revive the economy, to consider but one scenario among many, offer stark evidence that we seem to be grappling with the escalating complexities of the present and future stuck resolutely in the mindset of the past. This is to say nothing about our success in shaping a world that in all likelihood cannot sustain our long-term enhancements in wealth generation and, more generally, quality of life for humanity. Given the apparent limitations in our knowledge matched with our overwhelming hubris as well as capacity to exercise brute force, and there is only one possible conclusion: as a species we are still mired in the final decades of the Stone Age.