October 3, 2011

CREDIT: Magda's Cauldron

Here are the resources from the Carnegie Council's third annual SEPTEMBER SUSTAINABILITY MONTH.

They kick off with three forums discussing different aspects of sustainability. These feature a wide range of contributors, from philosopher Ronald Sandler, to writer and advocate on population issues Laurie Mazur, to author and activist Bill McKibben.

Resources also include a special profile of leader Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chosen for his global and local leadership on environmental issues; an essay on what sustainability means to China, by Shanghai-based sustainability expert Rich Brubaker; a two-minute Global Ethics Corner from the Carnegie Council's Evan O'Neil on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; and our third annual teacher/student essay competition.

Please participate! We hope you will add your comments and maybe take part in the competition, or pass it to someone you know who is eligible.



1) What are the Limitations and Benefits of the Sustainability Approach?
Is sustainability the only, or even the most desirable framework for environmental issues? What are the limitations and benefits of the sustainability approach, and what kind of alternative conceptual approaches may be preferable? What do you think?

  • What Do We Mean by Sustainability?
    J. Baird Callicott, University of North Texas
  • In Defense of "Sustainability"
    Ronald Sandler, Northeastern University
  • Using Sustainability to Tell Stories
    Dale Jamieson and Christopher Schlottmann, New York University
  • From Sustainability to a New Materialism
    David Schlosberg, University of Sydney

2) The Population and Sustainability Debate
According to UN projections, our world will be home to more than 9 billion people by 2050, increasing competition for livable space and critical resources such as water. What ethical standards should guide the debate about reproduction and sustainability? What do you think?

  • A Non-Growing Population Is Necessary for True Sustainability
    Robert Engelman, Worldwatch Institute
  • Family Planning Can Succeed Even in Very Traditional Societies
    John Bongaarts, the Population Council; and population expert Steven Sinding
  • Women's Rights Are Key
    Laurie Mazur, author and advocate on population and reproductive health and rights issues
  • Millions of Poor Women are Still Waiting to Reap the Benefits of Cairo
    Barbara Crossette, journalist and author
  • Population Alarmism Is Dangerous
    Betsy Hartman, the Population and Development Program

    (See also additional responses from Lisa Hymas, Grist cofounder; and Mara Hvistendahl, writer and journalist)

3) What Individuals Can Do
What is the most important thing a person can do to have a sustainable impact? From consumer purchases to political action, how should we prioritize solutions?

    • As Individuals We'll Lose
      Bill McKibben, environmental author and activist


    • Get Out Your Electric Bill, Then Get Out and Vote
      David Biello
      , Scientific American
    • Individual Responsibility Is a Trick Question
      Josh Lasky
      , University of the District of Columbia
    • Understanding the Expanded Self
      Mat McDermott
    • Start Building a Transition Ark
      Christopher Mims
      , technology, environment, and science writer


    • Tap the Power of Local Motion
      Paul Steely White
      , Transportation Alternatives


  • What You Measure Is what You Desire
    Eric Zencey
    , novelist, essayist, and political economist


Sustainability Leader Michael Bloomberg

Nicholas Platt, Carnegie Council
As part of our September Sustainability Month, the Carnegie Council honors Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his values-based vision and environmental leadership—both local and global.



Sustainability in China: More than Winning a Cleantech War
Richard Brubaker
, Collective Responsibility, Shanghai
While the global sustainability discussion is focused on carbon emissions, the Chinese people will continue working on problems that are tangible for them, such as health and safety.



The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and the National Interest
A proposed Canadian pipeline would transport bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, crossing the border. Is Keystone XL in the national interest? Is secure access to oil worth the climate change consequences?



Student/Teacher International Essay Contest "Making a Difference:" Deadline December 31, 2011
What does sustainability mean to you—in your own life, in your local community, and in the greater world? Do you see conflicts of interest between these spheres? (1,000-1,500 words, "op-ed" style)