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.)
Environment & Ecosystems
This section deals primarily with basic environmental topics, but it also includes topics such as Biodiversity, which extends it into the area of ecosystems.
The 4 basic principles of ecology are important not only in the environment, but in all systems.
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.
The term environmental health is used to frame issues where pollution and toxins in the environment cause or contribute to health problems, both chronic and acute. Environmental health concerns often have a very disproportionate impact on minorities and low-income people because of the ways facilities and roads are sited.
Some key areas of concern:
The precautionary principle is just a coherent statement of what really is just common sense: Faced with reasonable suspicion of harm, the precautionary approach urges a full evaluation of available alternatives for the purpose of preventing or minimizing harm. Instead of asking the basic risk-assessment question—”How much harm is allowable?”—the precautionary approach asks, “How little harm is possible?”
Here is the essence of the Precautionary Principle:
We believe there is compelling evidence that damage to humans and the worldwide environment is of such magnitude and seriousness that new principles for conducting human activities are necessary.
While we realize that human activities may involve hazards, people must proceed more carefully than has been the case in recent history. Corporations, government entities, organizations, communities, scientists and other individuals must adopt a precautionary approach to all human endeavors.
Therefore, it is necessary to implement the Precautionary Principle: When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.
You can find the original statement of the precautionary principle here: Wingspread Statement
Rights of Nature | Rights of Mother Earth
The ‘rights of nature’ concept recognizes that the natural systems have a right to exist, and that these rights may be superior to the commerce and property rights of humans; unfortunately this concept is only now becoming more widely appreciated.
In 2010, a general, global statement of the rights of nature, the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, was issued at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. This lead to places, for example Bolivia, to recognize ‘Mother Earth’ as having rights that are parallel to human rights.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with our endocrine system, the hormones that control development & growth and the way our bodies function on a daily basis. Exposure can lead to reproductive disorders, weakened immune systems, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, and can have devastating effects during pregnancy and on young children. Unfortunately, these chemicals are found in household products, toys, plastic food and beverage containers, herbicides & insecticides, and even in many of the foods we eat.
Related blog post – Fire or Ice? (Does it matter?)
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.
Agriculture is at the root of the local economy and of viable, sustainable communities. It provides resources – food, fiber, and more – as well as productive work, community cohesion, opportunities for engagement, and stewardship responsibilities. In order to understand it’s importance in society, one must understand how agriculture works and what it effects and how it is effected.
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
[Updated March 18, 2015] The following open letter is prompted by several stories in the Express-Timesand Morning Call reporting that almost all of our high schools already have synthetic turf fields (as do most colleges and universities in the Lehigh Valley)—and the few … more
Additional Links & Resources listed by the NY Department of Health Temperature of In-filled Synthetic Turf Athletic Fields Adamson, C, Feature Research: Synthetic Turf Playing Fields Present Unique Dangers; University of Missouri, Columbia, College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, http://cafnr.missouri.edu/research/turfgrass.php McNitt … 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
One of the surprises we found in our research, is that a natural turf is often much less costly than synthetic turf (also known as artificial turf), even with fairly heavy use. The cost for each field depends, of course, on … more
The ‘grass’s synthetic turf (also known as artificial turf) is plastic, usually high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, or nylon. The tufts of grass are attached to a blanket or membrane and supported by the infill material. Some turf systems use little coils of … more
Proper maintenance is essential for playability and also prolongs the usable life of the field. Regular brushing is essential for a good playing surface. Without proper maintenance, the ball can roll unevenly, gain or lose speed, or bounce unpredictably. Infill … more
In March 2015, we saw stories in the Express-Times and Morning Call reporting that almost all of the high schools, colleges, and universities in the Lehigh Valley have synthetic turf fields (also known as artificial turf), or were planning to replace natural grass with synthetic … more
PennEast is a high-volume, high-pressure pipeline designed to transport natural gas from the fracking fields of northern PA through the Lehigh Valley and on to markets in other areas [perhaps overseas]. As with any major construction project, impacts on natural resources … more