For introductory purposes, I’ll start by classifying myself as an environmentalist and amateur economist. That is, I study commerce and Science at the University of Sydney, Australia, majoring in Economics, Biology and Statistics. But I originally started out as an Environmental Forensics student at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, where I decided science wasn’t enough to preach what I want to preach, so expanding my knowledge to business was how I aim to spread my word with more impact. To summarise, I’m looking at doing 6 years of study just as an undergraduate degree and it better be worth it!
So where am I going with this? The reason I moved into business study was because in my environmental degree I learnt about sustainability, what we can do, the possible solutions etc. But another thing I learnt was; science is not enough to actually solve the problem, and also, scientists are pretty bad at communicating. These are two very strong points that WE don’t understand globally. This mentality has led to our biggest downfalls in humanity, whether you agree or not some of the problems we face include overpopulation, lack of resources, global warming, extinction of biodiversity (that is multiples species and their advantageous genes, gone), and so many more. I believe that the practices of business (how they produce goods etc) are detrimental in maintaining our existence and earths health.
For the purpose of sustainability I will focus on the led to our lack of resources. Without calling you all naive, I would safely bet a good 80% of you don’t realise that our resources aren’t renewable or the extent to what we classify as renewable. A good example is Helium, which is one of the extreme cases (which is why it’s a good example). Helium has a few defining characterises, it’s very light (the second lightest molecule), it has a 0 valency, meaning it’s outer shell of electrons in full, which means it’s not readily reactive, and it’s a very volatile gas. So when we harvest helium, it straight out leaves our atmosphere, we never see it again. I can’t tell you what impact that has caused, but I can tell you, it disturbs the equilibrium of our earth and our helium resources are close to drying up. That’s of course the extreme; most resources we harvest are cycled within our atmosphere.
So that’s the underlying problem, Science can’t solve the helium shortage, and we can’t bring it back. And thus far, we have yet to effectively communicate this problem. So you all know, absolutely nothing has been done to preserve these mines. Just keep that in mind next time you blow up a helium balloon. But for a more general idea, say it takes one day to make a plastic bag, a week at most. We harvest the resources to make that plastic bag in 1 – 5 day, but it takes thousands of years to biodegrade that plastic bag. So 1-5 days to harvest, thousands of years to give back what we took. So for anyone arguing our resources are replenishing, yes they are, but not at the equivalent rate, it’s not sustainable.
I’m sorry this is long, but last night I went to a presentation, which discussed the economic value of resources, how do we put a value on our resources. It really upset me when someone asked ‘How can you put a value on something that doesn’t provide us humans with value?’ Face it, we do stuff for ourselves, so why would we invest in restoring habitats that have not directly provided for us. To answer that question, everything on our planet, within our atmosphere directly impacts our well-being or lifestyle, health of our crops and quality of our water. I’d really like to preach this idea, so hopefully you express your interest!
To really end this, I just want you all to be aware that sustainability, keeping rates of decay and replenishment equivalent in very important. Also I love the idea and involvement of Linkin Park with POWER THE WORLD, because for anyone who has looked into it, it really shows that sustainability is very cost effective, takes minimal effort, helps populations of people, and keeps our environment much healthier. So, I wish to preach the idea of sustainability in your everyday lives. Not just for developing countries, but for the success of our future generations to come.
So from my studies thus far (3 years in), my awareness so to say has effected many of my everyday decisions. Some that aim to benefit the economy, so I buy purely Australian grown vegetation, cut down how many I flush the toilet, carry our around a keepcup, etc. I think it’d be great to have a place to discuss the issues I tried to highlight, without conflict, within the LPunderground community, anyone interested?
It’s such a broad topic, and I had trouble writing this without losing focus to the point, I could rant for days. Sorry about that.
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