"All ethics rest upon a single premise that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts." Aldo Leopold
Sustainability - What might this mean, if we choose to do nothing? Species wise - generalists will prevail which will leave us with less diversity, functions, and services being performed. Economic wise - it will be more costly.
In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition of sustainable development is widely accepted now by non-governmental organizations, governments and corporations through out the United States.
Our current thinking has now migrated pass solely focusing on the concept of sustainable development to recognize that sustainability is a much more complex and dynamic concept.Our definition of sustainability recognizes that maintaining and?sustaining ecosystems is necessary for sustaining economies and human communities. Hence, sustainability is about long-term maintainanceof ecosystems, and why our current path which is in Search of Sustainability will not work to sustain our children and future generations. An example of why sustainability will not work can be found in a recent Al Gore speech http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/gorespeech/ when trying to address the environment effects from not understanding the consequences of our actions and ignoring what science is telling us. Consequently to begin to make sense of all that we think we know or do know; 7 steps are suggested to form a framework to bring about change in a common sense fashion. They are:
7 Steps to Ecological, Social & Economic Common Sense
- Establish and confirm a new environmental ethic by drafting a National Declaration of Interdependence as a means to rebuild and reaffirm this ethics towards our natural resources [ethics]. Work with environmental and other societial groups to unite the message and movement [capacity building];
- Cause no harm and collaborate with others; establish policies that favor sustainability for the long-term foster a new environmental attitude (retire short-term policies that favour only short-term benefits) [capacity building];
- Substantiate a common value system that will resonate with the public including educate the public as to how ecosystem services and management can help society and creating a new ecological or habitat currency for the United States [science & education];
- Develop a common language including comprehensive data collection as a key component of sustainable natural resource management. Use web-based GIS to create pictures of concepts, assessments, and showing future outcomes, (data) [information infrastructure];
- Convert to and use new economic, social, and environmental indicators that better represent the environmental health of our nation, favour agreed upon lists of important goals, indicators and monitoring proceducres that can be used to implement progressive social change [economics, social, and science];
- Create a greater awareness for planning for future generations; encourage communities to develop their own unique clock, an engineering feature or artisitic sculptor that represents future generations [education & community development]; and
- Value all Cultures - identify and respect our diverse cultures and their key functional connections to our environment and economy [social] .