Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Conversation: Sustainability and the City

Sustainability is such a simple word yet it conjures up all kinds of meanings in people's minds. The definition of sustainability, which to me is the most easy to understand, is the one developed by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations, "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." In other words, a sustainable society doesn't gobble up all of the resources so that there are none left for our children.

We (the planet Earth "we") are going to have some hard choices coming up here rather soon with respect to the topic of sustainability. Economic and physical growth are inevitable but need to be at a sustainable pace. So what choices can we make so that this growth doesn't put future generations at risk?

I was encouraged to see this article from Smart Planet on a recent meeting set up by the software company SAP (who by the way has an awesome online sustainability report). SAP brought together policy makers, energy companies, and city planners to discuss the possibility of sustainable economic and physical growth led by our urban centers. The ideas brought up were encouraging and I hope this model of bringing diverse backgrounds together to discuss the impact we have today on future generations gains rapid acceptance.


D from Green Jobs said...

I'm 56 years old. I was not raised to look at sustainability. Now it is my job to pass these ideas on to my children and grandchildren.
I did not know that SAP was a leader in future thinking. Now I will start following their moves. Thanks for the information.

Justin A. Rickard said...

I wasn't raised that way either D. I'm happy that you are passing on sustainability ideas to the next generation. Thanks for reading and keep up the good work!


farzanakhan said...

good ideas ....

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Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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