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3 links related to Sustainability
The video starts with the basic definition of Sustainability from the UN, and expands to the tree pillars. By showing the graph of the human consumption and its evolution (from 1.5 planets to 2.5 if we do nothing, 1 if we start to change right now), the author tries to depicts what are the sustainability concerns and what we can do. As example, she used the sustainable vs non sustainable forests and renewable vs non renewable energy production. In their opinion, solutions can come from 4 differents horizons: policy and law, business startegy, technology and design, values and behavior change. In my opinion, policy, law and business strategy can only be a rebound effect of a societal change. Business will not change if there is no need for them, and the search of profit is often contradictory to sustainability concerns. In the same way, government and policy makers often think with a short time vision, and sustainable develpment is secondary for most of them. But if enough people share the same concern with the environment, they could impact laws.
In my opinion, the most important thing in this article is about indicators. They listed different initiatives to monitor sustainable development. Each of them have different indicators, between 6 and 100, explicit or implicit, and each initiative is working on a different time scale. This means it is extremely difficult to find good indicators to study sustainability. The system is too complex to be completely monitored (entire environment, animal, vegetal and human population, societal development, industries…). We can only try to establish small indicators monitoring a narrow aspect of sustainability and try to add as many indicators as possible to try to create the big picture.
- Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies on Environmental Sustainability: speculations and evidence (three orders of impacts of ICT on the environment)
This last paper was about the relationship between ICT and sustainability. Its conclusion was that ICT can help reduce human impact on the environment, but rebound effects are possible and cannot be easily identified in advance and thus could elad to an increase of human consumption. In my mind, although the rebound effects cannot be identified, it is the good way to go. It is much simpler to develop more energy efficient products and develop products helping us be more sustainable than changing human behavior. If changing one individual habit can be possible, changing an entire society way of living much more complex and time consuming. Or, In order to preserve the planet, the changement must be effective in a very short time. Thus, we should first use technology as a short-time effect enabler to reduce the human impact on the planet, while trying to change human behavior for a long-term impact.
Carbon Footprint Reporting:
Task 4: Exam questions
What is sustainability? Propose your own definition.
Although sustainability has been already defined (by the UN and others), asking to propose a new definition may show what aspect of sustainability the student emphasis over the others. Some may consider the social aspect as the main one, while some others may emphasis on the technical aspect. The 5 aspects (three pillars + individual and technical) may be also used as a definition.
Is it better to work on better energy efficient products or on changing human behaviour?
Our discussion talked about whether it is better to use energy efficient appliances or change the human behaviour in order to reduce our energy consumption. Although we all agreed we need to change human behaviour, I think this option is only viable in the long term (10-50+ years), but we need actions in very short term. The usage of energy efficient products could help us take actions in the short term, while educating people on the side to have a viable solution in the future.
Is getting information about our impact enough to initiate a change in our lifestyle?
In the chapter 7 of the book as well as during our discussion, we talked about whether displaying information (in the main lobby or in Sodexo) about our consumption is enough to make us change our behaviour. Although it seems during the discussion that the display in Sodexo helps most of us to reduce our waste the first few days, some forgot after a few days because the information wasn’t updated.
Should we reward or punish people to help them change their behaviour?
Concerning the surveys about recycling, the question of whether we should punish our reward people had been evoked. In my opinion, punishing people by changing the price of the bin removal based on its weight will incite people to put their garbage in their neighbours’ bin or even put them in the nature rather than reducing their waste, whereas rewarding them for recycling will increase the ratio of recycling waste. I think this question is good because it asks the question of how can we change human behaviour with economical effects.