Sustainability & Business
Businesses have a profound effect on sustainability. Businesses are permitted to externalize many of the costs associated with producing, using, and disposing of their products, which means that the cost and damage is shared by everyone.
For example: Coal sells as a commodity at about $50/ton. Experts estimate that the extraction and burning of coal creates additional costs to society of over $200/ton.Coal and energy companies profit from the low price, while everyone else bears the costs, primarily in the form of environmental degradation, global warming, and impaired health.
(Other examples include difficult-to-recycle electronic devices and single-use containers & packaging.)
Waste threatens to overwhelm natural ecosystems and the health of people and other life, primarily because our society produces so much waste in the form of short-lived or single-use materials and products that do not lend themselves to re-use or even recycling. And the problem of too much ‘stuff’ is multiplied by the volume of excess packaging.
If we recycle 100% of the recyclable materials and compost as much as possible, that will help — but will not solve the waste problem. Back in the early days of the environmental movement, someone coined the phrase ‘Reduce – Reuse – Recycle’ — and intentionally put recycling in 3rd place.
The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (‘LVAIC’) held its third valley-wide Campus Sustainability Conference in February. Keynote speaker Shana S. Weber, who directs the Office of Sustainability at Princeton University, kicked off the day with a talk on the … more
by Jennifer Giovanniello Food insecurity is a complex problem, and it is just as connected to environmental issues as it is to social ones. Many lower-income sections of cities are food deserts, and certain areas in Easton are no exception. … more
by Emma Stierhoff Consumerism […] encourages both increased consumption and increased waste, resulting in environmental destruction. It was not until I began identifying as an environmentalist in high school that I started to question the constant pressure to buy more … more
by Briana VanBuskirk We’re stuck in a cycle that fosters the creation, use, and discarding of materials without any consideration for the environment, animal rights, or human rights. Why is this? It’s no secret that financial gain is the core … more
by Lindsay Meiman 2016 marked the hottest year on record, surpassing the previous title-holder of 2015, and 2014 before that. Communities around the world are already confronting climate impacts—from one in a thousand year floods and devastating droughts, to food … more
by Diane Husic Recently, I took refuge from work to visit the former site of Bethlehem Steel. This may seem like a strange place for a retreat, but when your work involves ecological restoration of contaminated sites and adaptation to … more
by Molly Majewicz This year on Friday, April 22nd, the day was overcast and humid, but the predicted chance of rain didn’t deter many passionate Muhlenberg students and community members from creating a sustainability-centered fair, of sorts. On-campus groups like … more
Following are the principal sources we used to prepare these pages, with updated information added as it becomes available. Reports, Fact Sheets, & Scientific Studies Athletic Playing Fields and Artificial Turf: Considerations for Municipalities and Institutions [PDF]. Toxics Use Reduction Institute … more