Sustanability or substitutability ?

Home Forums Due September 17 by 11:59 pm Sustanability or substitutability ?

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    Before reading the article my idea of sustainability was using resources in a way that was not depleting it entirely. The use of resources should be at the same rate or less than it is able to replenish. According to the article the author says that sustainability has no obligation to leave a natural resource available in the future but to replace it after using the resource to depletion. I do not agree in any sense. I believe that substitution is only a last resort if the resource cannot replenish itself or if the demand is too high. If the morality of sustainability is to ensure future generations have access to the same or better comforts as the present then substitution is not the answer. The consequences of just depleting every resource without second thought because it can be replaced by a man made or other natural resource will have a negative impact. WE already have seen the effects of man made resources on this planet and unfortunately it seems to me that it is not giving anything to our future generations but more problems. So taking this information and applying it to the idea that aquaculture is sustaining our fisheries, i would slightly disagree. I believe they are helping with sustainability due to high demand but in the long run it is not fixing the problem. Replacement only covers the issue for so long.

    Kortney Birch

    I agree with your statement regarding a temporary fix for issues this generation faces. By replacing a natural occurrence with something man-made, we are pretty much putting a bandaid over the problem instead of fixing it. Although I didn’t agree with most of what Solow was saying, he did make some fair points regarding distributional equity, meaning we can space out the resources we use and take from the environment.


    I do agree with you, that substituting is not just the answer for everything, and definitely not substituting with man-made products. But I think Solow’s point was that preserving nature for the sake of preserving nature is it’s own argument, not something that should be connected with sustainability. It’s definitely a different take than I have ever heard before, but I think he does have a point. Humans have killed off many species – the dodo bird, elephant bird, passenger pigeon, tasmanian tigers, to name a few – we still, for the most part, are able to produce food. Someone said in our last discussion that we actually produce plenty of food for humans, it’s just that it’s unevenly distributed. The loss of many species of animals is a tragedy, but because we have a innate desire to preserve for the sake being able to look at them, study them, learn about them. Not because they are necessary for sustainability of the human population. I think that is what Solow was getting at – they are two different issues, with different arguments.

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