Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Sustainability Paradox

I love visual models that help us understand theoretical constructs
or ideas.  I actually spent quite a few years of my professional life
helping refine a model of the coping process.  
Models  can help us organize and understand things better.

I recently came across a model that, for me, clearly illustrated the
problem we have gotten into as a species living on this wonderful
planet.  We've all seen  3 ring overlapping circles - the 3 ring signs.
Oft times they are used to show how things overlap or share
certain characteristics.  Well, imagine 3 circles labeled environment,
economy and health.  In the center of the 3 is the smallest area where
the circles intersect.  That area depicts sustainability for the economy,
for the environment, and for the health of our species.  

Looking at things this way helps us see how often
what might be good for the economy (making the 2.5 million 
plastic bottles we in the US use per hour) might actually not be good
for the environment, or for our health and well being. It also
shows how what might be good for the environment(conserving
finite resources) might not be good for the economy. We can also
see that what is good for the economy and/or environment might not
enhance our sense of well being or our lifestyles (living in bigger houses
or not having a waterview)

The sustainability of our oceans. our planet, and our health
depends on that small area of intersect.  In a simple way it's
like the intersect of the wind, tide, and swell that we rely on for
those epic sessions


David said...

Got a link to that model image?
Be curious to see that actual graphic.

Interesting post though, a lot of times going too far in one direction has a negative impact in another, sustainability is more about balancing all these forces than it is about going to any one extreme. There is a happy stasis point which can be a struggle to find sometimes.

Dr.Bill Rosenblatt said...

David - if you google the E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability you can find a few articles with similar models

Andrew Kidman said...

Hi Bill, I contacted Parmenter about a widow maker. He said he'll shape you one, but you have to oragnise someone to pick it up from him in Makaha, he doesn't pack or ship surfboards. I can understand this, there's more working in the packing and shipping than the shaping. Anyway if you're able to find someone that can pick it up for you he'll make it for you. Failing that you could place and order at Moondoggies in San Luis Obisbo, and he'll shape it on the mainland when he's and you can pick it up from there. I realise your in NJ, but this is these are the only possibilities. It will be worth the wait and effort. Cheers Andrew