Unit 7 – Is the Future Sustainable?

By | April 16, 2015

I will not spend your time with trying to raise your awareness of environmental issues. There is plenty of information available about environmental issues. We may disagree about specific issues such as global warming, the availability of natural resources such as oil or coal, or the specifics of any particular environmental issue.  But what is well established is that the production methods of the 20th century need to change. The technologies and processes that produced the high standards of living for the fortunate 10-15% of the world’s population in the first world industrialized nations cannot and will not produce the same living standards for the entire world. There simply aren’t enough resources. We must make a change to more sustainable methods of production, be it energy production, agriculture, industry or waste disposal.

At it’s core, the environmental issues about sustainability are economic system issues. The economic system and its’ institutions determine what costs are considered when deciding how and what to produce. The economic system determines what the “externalities” are that should be ignored or remedied by government regulation. How, when and whether we move to sustainable production or “green” energy will ultimately be determined by how we change our economic system

Video to Watch:
TED Talk: Dan Barber – How I Fell in Love With A Fish

What It Is About

Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie’s honeymoon he’s enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain.

I am not an ecologist or biologist. Dan Barber may or may not be correct in his assessment of sustainability of the particular farm he talks about. But that is not the point here. The point I want you to pay attention to is how Barber describes a different approach to agriculture. Think about that. Think about how we do current agriculture (if you’re not really aware of current agriculture practices you may want to watch Food Inc.). How will these changes affect our economic systems? Will our economic systems produce sustainable production?

How I Fell In Love With A Fish (alt link if embedded video doesn’t display)


2 thoughts on “Unit 7 – Is the Future Sustainable?

  1. brown355

    Food Inc. is NOT a clear view of what our agriculture practices are today. SIMPLY NOT. It is a biased viewpoint with a very small sampling. It simply shows the “Bad APPLES” in agriculture. That is NOT the norm.

    1. Eli Zumberg

      the fact that that can be gotten away with though speaks volumes about the problem though. yet the biggest problem is still that the profit motive makes it so that a large company will do what it can to maximize profit. On the other hand that doesn’t change the fact that our current system is unsustainable.

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