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Is sustainability utopian?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • No.

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • Not sure.

    Votes: 3 18.8%
  • Don't care.

    Votes: 2 12.5%
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Journeyman
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Perfection is unattainable.

But sustainability can help quite a bit. For example, buildings can be designed and commissioned to operate much more efficiently. As sustainable building becomes popular, the effect will be noticeable in numerous ways. We should be able to reduce per-capita home/work energy consumption.
 

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It has to be, otherwise I would advise the Chinese/Indians/Africans to stop reproducing like rabbits and the Americans to stop consuming like crazy, because if they don't, we're totally fcuked!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Le Général said:
It has to be, otherwise I would advise the Chinese/Indians/Africans to stop reproducing like rabbits and the Americans to stop consuming like crazy, because if they don't, we're totally fcuked!
:lol:
 

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Total sustainability must be utopian; the world can't last forever. It's a natural fact.

But sustainability is achievable to a reasonable extent. Agrarian cultures were almost totally sustainable. Industrial cultures are much less so, which explains the environmental problems of the past 200 years. But if we can start getting our power from renewable/inexhaustible resources, and work on developing more eco-friendly materials with which to make our goods, we will find ourselves in good shape for the predictable future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Justadude said:
Total sustainability must be utopian; the world can't last forever. It's a natural fact.
You raise a good point. How far down the road in scope are we talking about in sustainability. 200 years sounds like a good range.
 

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Check out Japan during the Tokugawa era 1630's(?) to 1868. Interesting case study
that illustrates how an agrarian-based society can become ecologically sustainable, and support a fairly large population.

The majority of peasants didn't eat as well as we do, and famines occured here and there, but they were able to grow their own crops, fish for food, created more forests that provided a very regulated supply of wood for housing and fuel. They were a closed society, with the exception of a few dutch traders on an island in Nagasaki's harbour.
 

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Professional
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that webpage is a perfect example of someone gleaning information straight out of a 'sustainability' word search on google...

i have to disagree with sustainability being considered 'utopian'... although it may be driven by ideals and aspirations for a 'better world' it does not ever introduce any concepts of equity, justice, freedom, or a perfect society... all things that are generally found in utopian writing and especially found in utopian designs
 

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Justadude said:
Total sustainability must be utopian; the world can't last forever. It's a natural fact.

But sustainability is achievable to a reasonable extent. Agrarian cultures were almost totally sustainable. Industrial cultures are much less so, which explains the environmental problems of the past 200 years. But if we can start getting our power from renewable/inexhaustible resources, and work on developing more eco-friendly materials with which to make our goods, we will find ourselves in good shape for the predictable future.

if agrarian societies were entirely sustainable why did they become industrialized?

and there is also plenty of examples in history of agrarian societies struggling to survive, since any kind of planned agriculture is going to inevitably wear out the soil unless great care is taken
 

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Architorture said:
i have to disagree with sustainability being considered 'utopian'... although it may be driven by ideals and aspirations for a 'better world' it does not ever introduce any concepts of equity, justice, freedom, or a perfect society... all things that are generally found in utopian writing and especially found in utopian designs
"Utopian" doesn't have to include any of those concepts. The word utopian can be defined as:

a. Excellent or ideal but impracticable; visionary

b. Proposing impracticably ideal schemes.

The idea of total infinite sustainability probably falls into one or both of those but we can still make large practical and feasible steps towards becoming 'more' sustainable.
 

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Architorture said:
if agrarian societies were entirely sustainable why did they become industrialized?

They became industrialized because at those times, nobody knew an industrial society was unsustainable, and because an industrial society produces "more" of everything and thus those who have the economical power get much more wealthy in a way
 

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^ Took the words right out of my mouth. Industrialization is something that happens in small steps, all of which are seen as improvements over the past. It's only over the long haul, when a culture becomes so industrialized that it can no longer survive long-term, that people start wanting to reverse the process.

And point granted that agrarian cultures aren't always sustainable. Like anything, they must be done intelligently and with a broad knowledge of local conditions.
 

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I guess this discussion begs the question: are post-industrial societies sustainable?

Hell, will we be able to change ourselves, or change the world, in order to achieve ecological sustainability? Is this even possible? Are we screwed? Is it even worth trying?
 

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in the end we are going to hit limits [carrying capacity] for the planet and then things like disease and starvation will kick in and reduce our population to a point that is once again sustainable...

even though we seem to like to think that we are outside of nature and its powers... at some point we are going to be as much at the mercy of nature as any other species that overpopulates its environment

that is to say that man kind is sustainable as a species...whether or not we can sustain our current lifestyles...thats yet to be seen
 

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make it so...
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sustainability maybe utopian to us now at this point in our development as a civilization but down the road as we advanced and are forced to take the issue more seriously, it won't be.
 

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I think sustainability leads to disutopia -- it's because there is no way to make a truly sustainable state. Humans will waste the resources of future generations in the effort to make a sustainable state, thus negating the idea of sustainability as the author defines it. As a theoretical concept, sustainability is utopian, but we'll never figure out how to make it so within the bounds of our civilizations....
 

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Buster said:
I guess this discussion begs the question: are post-industrial societies sustainable?

Hell, will we be able to change ourselves, or change the world, in order to achieve ecological sustainability? Is this even possible? Are we screwed? Is it even worth trying?
post-industrialist societies in my view are NOT sustainable if they rely on non-renewable resources to function. Though, I think it is possible to achieve a greater degree of sustainability than we have now. It's simply very expensive, hence, it's ironic. Our expenses make sustainability simply not a sustainable concept.

!!!!
 
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