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Journal Discussions for Friday, August 24, 2007

This week we focused on introducing environmental issues in our community and how they relate to the idea of sustainability.  I would like you to first comment on what the term "sustainable" means to you and ways that it impacts your daily life. Once you feel that you have created your own definition for sustainable, you need to refer to the handout The Earth Charter and choose two principles to discuss. You should choose one principle the you think is the easiest to achieve and most realistic and explain why.  The second principle you discuss will be one that you feel will take the longest time and most effort to accomplish, and discuss how society will accomplish this principle.  Remember that the principles are the numbered sections throughout the article. If you have questions about how to compose a journal entry, or what the expectations are, please refer to the Journal Entry handout that you received in class last week.


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6 Responses to “Journal Discussions for Friday, August 24, 2007”

  1. Cooper

    I think “sustainable” would describe something that can be kept in its present state indefinitely. Earth can sustain life. It affects me every day because I have to think about food, grades, etc. Will one quesadilla sustain me enough to get through CAP class. I have to do well on this quiz in order to sustain my grade in Figures 2.
    I think that the first principle is the easiest to achieve. If we, as a society, “respect Earth and life in all of its diversity” we, as humans, would have to acknowledge that the ecosystems of all other species are as important as our own. Now, humans complain if people try to protect the environment of animals if that protection inhibits a human livelihood. If the Spotted Owls, the Salmon and the fish in the ocean were viewed as being as important as humans, we wouldn’t be able to devastate their ecosystems. Until the last hundred years, people had a respect for animals in this country. Native Americans did hunt animals for food, etc., but they had to limit their hunting to achieve sustainability. A lot of people still have a soft spot for animals. This feeling can be exploited to publicize problems with species sustainability.
    I think the second principle would be the hardest to achieve. I believe “caring for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love” next to impossible, because people currently are too selfish and lazy to see beyond their own “needs”. People like driving their SUVs and their Hummers. People are too lazy to try to protect the environment by taking the bus or walking, rather than driving a short distance. People find it too difficult to recycle, especially if no recycling containers are at hand. People now are incredibly short-sided, even if they care about the environment. Native Americans had a view of stewardship of the earth rather than ownership. They had to take care of it for future generations.
    Stewardship is an essential view in order to be serious about sustainability. Whether it’s recycling a can or setting aside an entire forest for the Spotted Owl, look beyond their own “interests”.

  2. ginny_w

    Sustainable is something that is everlasting and something that can be maintained. Connecting that to the enviroment- at this point, it feels like an oxymoron. Most of our natural resources are suppose to be sustainable but with the help of humans, we have managed to make that untrue. Sustainable is something that supplies nourishment for the people around it. What are we going to do when the resources that were once sustainable are now gone? We need to ask ourselves this question.
    The Earth Charter was filled with different principals that are all equally important. Although, I felt that number 11 (Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequsites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic oppertunity) would be the principal that is most easily achieved. We are already on our way to equal representation from a male and female standing. A woman running for preisent next election is a major part of womens rights and will make a huge step forward for women in America.
    The hardest principal listed on this sheet would have to be number sixteen. ( Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace)
    I think this principal is the least likely thing about to happen. Atleast any time soon.
    Our country was built on oppression, a lack of tolerance, violence and disturbing the “peace”. In order for our country to change, it would have to go through some major negative changes in order to have that positive change. It is hard to change a nation that has been founded on all of the opposite things. There is no way that people are going to give up their prejudices any time soon.
    It would be lovely to think that this could happen in our generation.

  3. Alix

    The one principle i believe would be the most achievable would have to be #14 “Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.” This would be very achievable because it is not at all difficult to incorporate knowledge about sustainable into the already pretty well formed education children get. Of course teachers who know about sustainable living would have to come in and teach, but thats not a hard thing to get. In order for the general public to become aware of sustainable living, there would have to be magazines, or many newspaper articles, or other media driven events that are directly connected to sustainable living, and they would have to reach the general public. Depending on the area, some people may skip right over that environmental stuff, but if the town mayer or someone of importance were to give speeches to the public about sustainable living, that more people would be reached.

    The principle that would seem most difficult to achieve would be #16 “Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.”
    Although this may be possible in many countries, there are still a lot of countries including this one that would always be stubborn about weapons of mass destruction. This is because they represent power, and many countries want others to know that they have power, maybe more than they do.
    There are also a lot of people who just don’t want to try and embrace other cultures, or even try to respect those cultures or other people’s differences. Peace is a hard thing to accomplish, especially with so many close minded people who are rulers of countries. it will take a very long time before half the world to get along peacefully!

  4. RubyKF

    When I think of sustainability, i think of people being conscious of thier choices and how they are living. Sustainability is a way of living so that we can continue living long after the present moment and so that future generations can live after we do. As jennifer White talked about in her article “What is Sustainability and What does it Have to do With Me?”, sustainability pertains not only to the natural world and preserving it so we can survive, but to all aspects of life (including personal relations) and thriving. In terms of the Earth Charter article, the step i find most easily atained is step number 8, “advance the sudy of ecological sustainablilyt and promote the open echange and wide application of the knowledge acquired”. This is mostly becuase of the number of people I know going into this field of study. Obviously i do not know that many people in the grand scheme of things but it seems that our collective knowledge in this field is expanding rapidly and more and more people are listening. The hardest step to take for the human race i think is step nmber 16: “Promote a Culture of tolerance nonviolence and peace.” I wish this was not hte hardest step, but seing as over the course of human existence there have always been intolerance, violence and absence of peace, it seems that humans will hold on to these things the longest. Humans overall seem to have a violent streak that is very hard to wash out. Hopefully I’m wrong and this will be the first of all steps to be taken.

  5. ginny_w

    I think everyone has placed an interesting point. I really enjoy how Ruby talks about the article that was read during class and that Cooper brings up Native American culture.

    If only our culture could be as Earth loving as Native Americans!

  6. Bolivia67

    Ecological sustainability on a global scale cannot be attained in the high population rate of our world.

    For a sustainable ecosystem there needs to be at least 1,000 prey for every 1 predator. We are a predatory species. The only reason that the Native Americans had a so called sustainable lifestyle was not because they used all of the animal or any such romantic nonsense, but because they lived in this balance.

    For a fairly long time diseases and war and famine kept the human population in check, but now we have antibiotics- which will keep the beast at bay for awhile, but not forever- we have created huge “cookie cutter” farms to fix the famine, and we haven’t had a world war for 70 years. If we truly want sustainability is has to come with those things.

    Now, with a lack of these population controllers, the human population has grown on an exponential scale. There is no hope in sight. We will destroy our selves, if not by war than by disease. If not by disease than by Pollution. We will find a way to keep the human population in check even if we are fighting against it.

    And from a ecological sustainability standpoint that is a good thing.


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