This page has been created for the sustainability course in the GCTLT (Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching)
As a student of zoology I have a bias towards thinking about sustainability in ecological terms. It basically comes down to protecting the biodiversity on this planet. That of course includes all plants and animals as well as humans. It extends to their habitats, food , water and air supplies. I became aware of “climate change’, habitat destruction, and the existence of ‘threatened species’ early in my life and it has always been of concern to me. It amazes me that these issues are only now becoming of concern to governments when we have been aware of the problems since at least the 1970′s (when I was an impressionable teenager). It worries me a little that sustainability is beginning to mean “how do we sustain our current system of economic growth knowing that we are running out of the resources which allow us to keep growing.
How can we possibly keep growing when we live on a finite planet? Maybe we will find a new energy source once oil runs out?, maybe we will find a new mineral to replace the lithium for our batteries once we have mined all of that, maybe we can Geo-engineer the atmosphere once it gets too hot to support life?
In our current system – Economic Growth has to continue, if the economy stops growing it shrinks and when the economy shrinks people lose their jobs, businesses go broke, more people loose their jobs, less money circulates, more businesses go broke eventually we all go broke and before you know it the supermarket shelves are empty…
Sustainability to me is now not only about the threatened Cromwell Chafer Beetle in Central Otago but also about being able to survive once the supermarket shelves are empty. Ask the unemployed in Greece and Italy what sustainability is about, how are those austerity measures for size? Feel Good? How the hell did they end up this way? – Over consumption! – Consuming more than you can afford, getting into debt. Living beyond our means, putting it on the plastic. Borrowing more money to repay the interest on the debt, then borrowing more money to pay the interest on the interest on the debt..This sort of thing just isn’t sustainable is it?