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Web Discussion Question for February 3, 2006

This week we discussed the concept of Sustainability and learned that sustainability has to deal with the balance of meeting the needs of human society (economic and social needs) without destroying the environment and natural resources needed to sustain life. We also learned about the Tipping Point and how epidemics and fashion trends, like the revival of the shoe Hush Puppies, can spread like wildfire in a short amount of time. Given the fact that we have limited natural resources on the planet and 6.3+ billion people on the planet and rising, what will it take for sustainable practices to reach a "tipping point" where governments, businesses, households, and individuals make sustainable choices on a daily basis?

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8 Responses to “Web Discussion Question for February 3, 2006”

  1. Brian fauver

    I think that the United States as a whole is concentrated on two things: comfort, and the necessity to impress the people around them. Our society has progressed to be the pinnacle of laziness and facades. The only fads that have swept our society in recent times (since the 90’s) have been based on these two ideals. When sustainability of say a house, saves enough money on the energy bill to overthrow the americans instinct to be expenentially lazy, then there will be an abundance of “green” houses.

  2. Bolivia67

    One feeling that American’s love to have is superiority. We are taught at school at a young age that America is the greatest nation. The “American Arrogence” cannot stand, for example, that all the energy that we need mainly comes from other countries.
    In order for a sustainable substance such as biodiesel to “spread like wildfire” a few things have to happen. If the producers of Biodiesel can market it in a way that makes the consumer feel as though he/she is supporting America, making America stronger, reducing dependancy, “fighting the terrorists”, than there will be success. If patriotism either for or against America will rise, then so will the production of Biodiesel. In the State of the Union Address, President Bush mentioned the growing of switchgrass as a major component of Biodiesel. This will encourage farmers patriotic to our country to grow switchgrass. (That and it is the most valuble thing you can grow per square acre money wise.) Finally the most important thing that will boost popularity of Biodiesel is rising gas prices. If gas prices continue to rise people will seek alternatives, stores will start to sell alternatives such as biodiesel, supply will be available, therefore making biodiesel cheaper. And what American can say no to cheaper?

    PS apoligize for grammatical errors

  3. astrea

    i dont think our society will begin to commonly use sustainable resources by choice, until our comfort and our everyday routines are compromised by the enviromental problems we have created over time.

  4. Brant

    I think Americans can incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday life if the government helps make it easy for them. Recycling has been a “sustainable success” (especially here in Boulder) and I think it is because citizens and business have easy access to recycling facilities– its all about making sustainability convenient. Likewise, if the government makes inexpensive biodiesel available at the pump, people will use it. If installing solar panels is supported financially, then more Americans may consider it. Although there has been some progress, I have my doubts that the Bush squad will take sustainability to where it needs to be due to budget reasons, pressure from oil companies, lack of concern for the environment etc…

  5. john quinn

    I tihnk that sustainability needs to be conveinent and affordable. it is kind of like a fast food resturant when you get hungry and you see something quick and easy you go to it because of that. I also think that if we where to offer more sustainable products in more places and make it have a reasonable price tag people would use it. it also needs to be supported by our government and people need to be publicly informed about it.

  6. sam

    For the longest time, the world has been relying on convenience and not thinking about the enviornment. we have done a lot of damage to this world already and if we were going to start using sustainability on a daily basis, we would need to start little. change like that doesn’t just happen overnight. it could start by people being informed with how they are impacting the enviornment. considering how influentail our media and our government is, that is how we could start educating people, and that is how the change can start.

  7. cass

    I don’t think anything is going to happen until poeple realize what they are doing to our planet. Like I don’t think it will stop until we are seriously roasting because of a messed up atmosphere or GLOBAL WARMING! We’re done for, at least I probably won’t be here when something does happen – hahaha!

  8. Rachel

    Wow! I find everything that has already been said to be VERY insightful and true! As a culture, we are most definitely dependent on even (sometimes) the simplest of comforts—a warm house, cute clothes, the ability to carry around a cell phone and iPod at all times. Without any of these, and so much more, we would be so lost. I hate admitting it, because it makes me personally look ignorant, but it’s 100% true. Do we ever stop to think about how are houses are staying warm, or who made those expensive designer shoes we all wear? I don’t, and I should. When it comes to sustainability, I believe that it simply is our ignorance and want of comfort and pleasure that keeps us from doing what we can to make our environments sustainable. And it would take SO much work to push that tipping point back in the other direction, and reverse the harm we’ve done to the earth and its people. But I believe that if we try and make the right decisions, even if they are seemingly miniscule, we can start setting in motion a movement that could potentially spread like wildfire on its own—saving the earth from near-certain future downfall!


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