Summary week 7

by sabrinakuehn

This week’s lecture in Politics and Society was about the effect of democracy on sustainability. A question that’s actually not that easy to answer. Conclusions were drawn with reference to two different measures of sustainability – Genuine Savings (a weak measure) and ecological footprint (a measure of strong sustainability). Rather than discuss conclusions here you may prefer to have a read of Hugh Ward’s paper, on which the class was based.

Any environmental resource will have multiple stakeholders. The process of finding an appropriate solution that is reasonable now, and in the long run, therefore requires compromise. All of the systems we have discussed recently from watershed management to coral reefs need wise but pragmatic and engaging management solutions for the systems and the communities that rely on them to persist.

Of course, to build a wise and engaging solution it’s key to understand the community of people, organisms, and physical features that you’re trying to manage. On a local development basis in the UK, that might mean undertaking an environmental impact assessment, part of which would be an ecological impact assessment (see this). It’s really interesting to read, for example, this publication and find that the same issues of natural capital’s substitutability or lack of it come up, as we discussed above (see page 264 ‘Natural Capital’).

And what about the upcoming week? Well, there is more to learn about SPSS and public opinion concerning the environment, and “how to motivate sustainable behaviour” (here’s an idea). But despite the loads of work, we shouldn’t forget to get outdoors, no matter how much reading there is to do! 🙂