Barriers to Sustainability

What are the biggest barriers to sustainability?

We like to think of our society as fair & just, providing equal opportunity for all. And we tend to think we will achieve sustainability simply by addressing global warming or through better regulations. In reality, though, there is ample evidence of embedded racism, patriarchy, & colonialism — even right here in the Lehigh Valley. All three of these issues are closely connected to the ‘evil triplets’ spelled out by MLK: poverty, racism, & militarism. And capitalism as practiced here in the United States is intertwined with them all.

  • How can we better understand the pervasive influence of these factors?
  • What can we do to raise awareness of these problems and their systemic nature?
  • How can we reduce these influences and move towards a just and equitable society?

Interns will look at how these problems are experienced in the Lehigh Valley (both historic & current).

This is both a study project and an internship — Interns will look at how these topics are interconnected and explore what can be done here in the Lehigh Valley. It will involve some or all of the following activities

  • Research to gain understanding of existing problems, including their presence here in the Lehigh Valley (both historic & current)
  • Analyze how addressing these problems will improve current and long-term sustainability of communities
  • Explore the role of institutions in perpetuating problems and potential for creating change
  • Work with community members, educators, and local organizations to explore possibilities
  • Take action to raise awareness and understanding including presentations, fact sheets, and/or posters
  • Write articles or speak to groups on various aspects of sustainability and community resilience

We are looking for students who can take significant responsibility and have a strong interest in sustainable communities. Your specific academic major is not as important as your interest and ability to undertake a variety of tasks, and work effectively. Previous interns have come from a wide range of academic disciplines, including Communication, English, Professional Writing, Sociology, Economics, and Studio Art.

If this is a topic you would like to explore, email Internship Coordinator Peter Crownfield.

Updated October 2018