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.)
Here we focus on rethinking the ways we live and the ways society and its systems are structured. It includes approaches, perspectives, and philosophies that can empower our pursuit of sustainability, getting more specific about the frameworks for thinking and action given in the Finding Solutions part of the Think Globally section, namely, the models of change available to help us understand the various aspects of the problem we are facing and to help us move towards sustainability.
The change paradigms are a varied lot. Some focus on specific objectives, some are holistic. Some are weighted toward “taking action” strategies, some toward conceptualization, some are rather balanced in dealing with both theory and practice. They all can find expression in local, regional, national and/or world-wide actions. They all can inspire us and help us find the way.
Please contact us about models for change that you would like to see added to this listing.
This is where the danger lies. Unsustainable energy—fossil fuels and nuclear—are direct threats to future generations and public health hazards for current generations.
In August 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC] published a report called Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air…. Pennsylvania is #3 on the list of states with the most toxic pollution from energy generation — for both overall toxic air pollution and for mercury pollution!
Climate is something that affects us all. And because of global warming, we are faced with a climate crisis. We are already experiencing increasing occurrences of extreme weather, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing at a rate that is likely to cause catastrophic changes in the future. We can mitigate the effects by reducing the use of fossil fuels—by reducing waste, relocalizing production, reducing the number of unnecessary vehicle trips, converting to more-efficient transportation, and converting to organic farming. And Climate Protection Agreements, commitments by governments and institutions to reduce GHG emissions and promote sustainable communities, are being written and signed.
In April 2014, the Bethlehem Area School District adopted a comprehensive Climate & Sustainability Commitment that covers academics, facilities & operations, and public engagement. [Other local climate protection agreements…→]
But systemic changes are needed.
If climate is one of your interests, we invite you to join the ClimateAction email group.
Note: This section reflects the Alliance’s goals, especially #1: Protect the natural environment on which our communities depend.
Below you will find articles pertaining to climate topics.
Green, or sustainable, building is the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition. This section contains articles about green buildings initiatives and research.
by Diane W. Husic The first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 1990)1 led to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 195 countries that signed this 1992 treaty, including the U.S., are obligated to … more
by Harris Eisenhardt The answer, I believe, is as follows: Do not mourn the loss of this planet prematurely, and do not resign to the pessimists’ comfort. Personal actions contribute to collective climate change […] we should hold ourselves accountable. … more
by Martin Boksenbaum Two lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” meant little to me until thinking about how to talk about what needs to be done, what we need to do, to address the climate crisis. Although certainly … more
by Courtney Cohen Society has made great strides to improve modern medicine, communication, and technology, but in the process, we have lost our innate connection with the natural world. Early environmentalists like Thoreau and Pinchot warned society that they were … more
by Alex Fischer Conducting one’s life to end exploitation and injustice is moral and dignified. The twin threats of nuclear war and climate change forecast a bleak future. While we cannot know whether or not people and their societies can … more
by Tara Zrinski In the years that I have been part of the active opposition to the PennEast Pipeline and fracking in Pennsylvania as local organizer for Food and Water Watch and through Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking, I have seen … 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
From Popular Resistance: RESIST!#NODAPL, DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE, MILITARY, PROTESTS By Staff, www.kfyrtv.com November 26th, 2016 WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants all people camping on its property north of the Cannonball River to leave … 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