Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ch.3 Just Sustainability in Theory

In this chapter Agyemen compared the differences between "ecological sustainability" and "environmental health". The differences being that ecological sustainability was more of a Northern thing and environment-based. The other being a Southern thing and more equity-based. I agree that these differences do exist and create a divide between what should be a common goal. In reading this chapter I am now a little lost as to what I should call myself, am I more for sustainability, ecology, the environment, greening, justice, equity, economy, or quality of life. In all, I think that what Agyeman was trying to do was combine these things, to make the differences between the paradigms known, and then combine them to form one...movement. It does seem silly that it should exist so separated, and Agyemen tries to explain this through a few things, primarily social class. Where "environmentalism" is more grass roots and started around the civil rights movement, sustainability is more academic. I strongly agree, and admit I never fully thought this out. Combining these two would obviously make the most sense towards living good lives in a healthy world. The biggest challenge does seem to be figuring out whether we're worrying about the environment, or we're worrying about people? I think it's both, that's what sustainability is to me at least, but how do we attack both issues. Previously we read about systems, and how everything is connected. I agree with that as well, but then this means that people affect the environment, and the environment affects people, and so on. So which do we start with, the environment or people? I suppose I'm still a little confused but I think the answer is people. I know in my group project (Connect Ithaca) I was trying to explain the other day how we should get people more involved by instead of focusing on the good, focusing on the bad. What I meant/mean is that in order to make people care about the earth we have to make them feel it is a right of theirs to have better water, air, etc. They have to feel that some injustice exists in order to want to remediate it. Once this inequity is brought to light they will seek to fix it by in turn "fixing" the environment. So, like I said, I think it starts with people, I think it starts with the environment and equity, then moves on to what almost seems to be "extra" (sustainability, greening, etc).

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