Talk:Sustainability/Archive 30

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Archive 29 Archive 30 Archive 31

Remove I PAT section?

The "Consumption — population, technology, resources" section linking to I PAT...I say remove it. It's an old concept from the 1970's, it's fairly limited, and most of the references to it are in relatively old works (i.e. 90's and earlier). Only one source is given that talks directly about I PAT and it's from the 70's. This source [1] discusses the IPAT equation as an interesting step in the history of sustainability but something that has been moved beyond. It doesn't seem to make sense to present it so fundamentally in this page. Perhaps it deserves mention in a subsection of the history of sustainability or history of the study of sustainability. But it's currently presented as being a very fundamental concept, which it isn't. I also think it harms the accessibility of this page by introducing mathematics when mathematics is not necessary. Cazort (talk) 17:55, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Hi Cazort. My take on the article you cite is that it points out the difficulties entailed in a strict application of the I=PAT formula. Yes, its deficiencies have been both known and discussed for some time. It does not, however, either negate or put back to the 70s the significance of the underlying idea that population numbers, affluence, and degree of technological development are key broad concepts relating to environmental impact and hence sustainability. Perhaps these ideas are best not expressed in a maths-like formula but the formula is a powerful stimulus to thought. IMO removing the formula and the ideas it carries would be a major omission but if you want to (very briefly) re-word its content to draw attention to its limitations and add relevant citations that improve on the basic ideas it is trying to communicate then that might be an improvement. Granitethighs 23:05, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I do think these are really fundamental / critical concepts, I just think a simple formula like that doesn't really do much to enhance understanding of the issues. I also think there's another problem with I PAT, which is that the notion of "Affluence" used in the I PAT formulation (Consumption per capita) does not correspond well to the notion of affluence. The idea that affluence is synonymous with consumption is an assumption of consumerism, and the wedding of these two concepts is an antithesis to sustainability. It seems ironic (and counterproductive) to include such usage of the term "affluence" in the article on sustainability when other parts of the article are trying to explain how it's necessary to decouple these two concepts in order to achieve sustainability. Cazort (talk) 16:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow what you are saying. Perhaps the best way forward is to make suggestions for improvement - preferably on this page - then we can see what people think about the changes. I have suggested pointing out in the text (very briefly) the limitations of the formula but if you still want to remove it perhaps we canvas what others think. At the moment we seem to be in some thick philosophical woods.Granitethighs 00:08, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
The original statement (now reinstated) was "The overall driver of human impact on Earth systems is the consumption of biophysical resources. Human consumption can be divided into three key components: population numbers, levels of consumption (affluence), and impact per unit of resource use (which depends on the technology used). This is absolutely fundamental to sustainability; it is not dated or confusing, and should never have been removed. We can discuss the equation here if you like. Granitethighs 10:27, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The old material, which you reinstated as-is, reads "three key components...levels of consumption (affluence)". Affluence redirects to Wealth. Wealth is not the same as consumption, and in many respects, can actually be inversely related to consumption. An interesting source discussing this issue is: [2], which links poverty (in the US) to conspicuous consumption. The statement in the article, as-is, is a quiet normative statement working within the conventional paradigm of American consumerism that has made wealth synonymous with consumption. I think the whole article needs to be written so as to carefully distinguish these concepts. I recognize that the I PAT formula uses A to mean Affluence that way, but I think this is a specialized use, and it was a use that was developed before people had really deeply questioned the consumerist paradigm. Including it as-is risks misleading readers into thinking affluence = consumption, which it does not. I'd rather keep this usage of "affluence" (and thus the formula) off the page entirely, but I think if we're going to keep it, we absolutely must make a statement that it's using the term "affluence" in a specialized, atypical way, and that affluence as normally defined/used is not the same as consumption. Cazort (talk) 21:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The section we are discussing sits under the title “Principles and concepts”. Before you removed it, the section read “The overall driver of human impact on Earth systems is the consumption of biophysical resources”. This is a general statement which, to my mind, is so obvious that it does not need citation (but one can be provided if necessary). It is important to make this statement because it leads into what follows. Do you have any objection to this initial sentence? If not then it should definitely remain. The section next examines consumption by relating it to population numbers, levels of consumption by individuals in the population, and the kind of technology employed. These factors/concepts/principles are IMO fundamental (in no way dated or outmoded) and should not be removed – how these ideas are communicated is another matter. If you take strong exception to the way they have been presented and the equation, then do what you feel is necessary to improve the presentation of these basic ideas. But the concepts are critical and should not have been removed. With due respect, this article underwent a long and critical revision process with a number of informed editors - that does not mean it is perfect. Of course it can be improved. My concern is that it does not actually deteriorate under revision.Granitethighs 07:50, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that sentence is much more problematic and less obvious than you assert it is. Consumption of biophysical resources means what? There's a fundamental difference between different types of consumption. If I eat a pint of raspberries that I gathered from wild raspberries growing on the unmaintained property on the neighboring lot out my house (realistic scenario here, this happens every summer), I consume them, they're a "biophysical resource". My impact on the earth from doing this in the global scheme of things, relative to eating from other food sources, is nil. If I shoot a deer or a snow goose and prepare the meat by manual labor and compost the waste in a place where the nutrients are fully absorbed into the ecosystem, my impact on the earth is actually positive because I'm exerting biological control to keep down the numbers of a species that has grown out of hand and is causing ecological damage. I'm "consuming" the meat but I'm having a net positive impact. Sustainability is not a brute force concept. Notions like consumption are subtle, and universal statements about consumption and sustainability can be misleading or even outright false. As to the other concepts, I think that the population one is more obvious and fundamental. But I think that the I PAT formula and the whole way of thinking that it represents is just a huge can of opens up the door to so many wrong interpretations of terminology, misunderstandings...that's why I am inclined to argue to keep it out of this page. I think focusing instead on how impact is proportional to population is the most fundamental concept that should be retained here. Cazort (talk) 02:31, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I've been thinking about this more...I think the term "consumption" is problematic because it is an economic term, and its use in the mainstream usually referring to the economic definition, not any sort of other (ecological?) definition. The economic definition of consumption encompasses activities that could have a negative environmental impact, no impact, or a positive impact. I also think that the broad use of the word consumption is allied with consumerism--people are called "consumers" and use of any resource is called "consumption". This view of things is totally at odds with why use that language? The issue is the destruction of resources, the destruction of ecosystems. And the I PAT formula is problematic not only because it ties Affluence to Consumption but also because it ties use of resources to destruction of resources, implicitly, by encompassing both in the variable "A". The relationship to population is also not really proportional as the IPAT formula suggests. If the population is negligible with respect to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, then the destruction of ecological resources is nil. (which is how most healthy ecosystems work--animals eat things that are in abundance, the food chain gets narrower as you get higher up on it) Destruction happens only when the population gets large enough that it's not negligible with respect to the ecological resources.
Another problem is that a lot of ecosystem is not tied to use of resources but rather, lack of use of resources. An example would be nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution can totally destroy aquatic ecosystems (eutrophication), yet all it is is a resource that humans have used in a sloppy way. Sustainability is an information problem, it's a question of quality, when, where. It's the same thing as not turning off lights when a room/building is not in use--there's no "use" here, no "utility" in the economic sense...but there's ecological destruction happening. I think this is why the IPAT formulation is fundamentally misleading and does not belong on this page. I also think there's a social and political loss (even tragedy) associated with environmentalists focusing on (and confounding/confusing) notions like use/consumption/affluence: it makes people think "Environmentalists want to control me, they want to decrease my quality of life." when the opposite is true--utility and quality of life can be increased when people use resources wisely. It's not a question of using less, it's a question of destroying less. Using things without using them up. Like a well-made suit that you can wear over and over again and it doesn't wear out, and it's washable and you don't need to dry clean it. (I own one of these, yay!) compared to something made cheaply that you wear a few times and it starts to wear out. Does this make any sense? I feel like this is getting at the very core of sustainability and what is communicated currently on the page (and not just in the IPAT section) is all wrong and needs to be fundamentally reworked. Cazort (talk) 15:32, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I simply disagree with your assumptions about the meaning and associations concerning the word "consumption" - I also think that what people will "feel" about the formula (i.e. that it is environmentalists trying to control them and their lives) is highly speculative. The equation literally is about environmental impact, not necessarily destructive impact. In very general terms the equation expresses the simple truth that my environmental impact (not necessarily destructive), of necessity, depends on the resources that I use, and the more sophisticated the technology I use (a rotary hoe is more sophisticated than a spade) the greater that impact will be [technology] and the more rotary hoes I use [affluence] again the greater the impact: and yet again, if I am joined in my task by an additional person the impact will be greater still. Having said this I have already agreed that the equation is imperfect - and I like your attempt at a clearer resolution. My concern is that it be replaced with something that improves on the current content not diminishes it. IMO you have not done this (yet). It would also help if you could crystallise your thoughts into a few precise words.Granitethighs 06:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The bottom line is (1) I think an equation is not the best way to communicate the essential ideas here. (2) The I PAT formulation in particular defines its variables in a way that is inherently confusing, does not fit with the intuitive and common usage definitions of concepts like Affluence or Technology, and makes it more difficult to understand the fundamental concepts involved in sustainability. Cazort (talk) 14:57, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
While you argued that I=PAT formula is old and outdated, I think it should be appropriate to keep it and add a note describing new approaches to address the vagueness of this formula. Removing it outright sounds a bit going too far. OhanaUnitedTalk page 21:12, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree the I PAT relationship should be retained. I PAT is a simple, but fundamental accounting relationship that cannot just be wished away. And, Cazort, the year it was first discussed has nothing to do with its relevance. You wouldn't say Newton's second law should be done away with because it is old. You have not given any sources supporting your contention that I PAT is "an interesting step in the history of sustainability but something that has been moved beyond." You say that introducing I PAT "harms the accessibility of this page by introducing mathematics when mathematics is not necessary." It is a stretch to call a simple piece of accounting arithmetic "mathematical", which implies that some mathematical skills beyond basic arithmetic are involved. Perhaps you are concerned about completely innumerate readers, but we wouldn't be doing innumerate readers any favour by not including it, since such readers will not be able to make sense of sustainability anyway. The relationship is not really even a piece of quantifiable arithmetic. It is is more a framework which points out the interrelationship with these factors. The flexible way the I PAT relationship lends itself to different interpretations as its factors are viewed in more considered ways just underlines how fundamental it really is. I think you make some good points about how the I PAT factors can be interpreted. Your argument further cements how useful and flexible the relationship is. Also your comments stand as original research until you supply relevant reliable sources. I agree also with some of your earlier comments, that this article still has many omissions, including core obstacles to sustainability, such as those presented by the mindsets of influential groups. --Epipelagic (talk) 02:18, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Cazort this is where we are at:

Previous The overall driver of human impact on Earth systems is the consumption of biophysical resources. Human consumption can be divided into three key components: population numbers, levels of consumption (affluence), and impact per unit of resource use (which depends on the technology used).

Current The overall driver of human impact on Earth systems is the destruction of biophysical resources, and especially, the Earth's ecosystems. The total environmental impact of a community or of humankind as a whole depends both on population and impact per person, which in turn depends in complex ways on what resources are being used, whether or not those resources are renewable, and the scale of the human activity relative to the carrying capacity of the ecosystems involved.

Sorry, I do not think this is an improvement. For a number of reasons. Firstly, I do not share your views about the complexities of the notion of "consumption" and in spite of its deficiencies the original opening sentence was very simple and clear. I think the general reader would "get" what the word consumption is doing here without the difficulties you imply. I too have thought about a suitable word around which we can "summarize" the whole sustainability debate and I am yet to be persuaded that there is a better expression than "human consumption". The word "destruction" is problematic for a variety of reasons. As you pointed out yourself human resource use is not necessarily "destructive" - it is all sorts of things - and "destruction" is an unnecessarily emotive word. The point about Earth's ecosystems, though correct, has been made many times elsewhere ... by this stage of the article surely it can be taken as read. I take all your points about resource use complexity - but then the original sentence doesn't deny any of this - it just uses fewer words and simpler expression. Reference to renewable resource use comes later in the article. It is important to note that at this stage we are still setting the general scene in the reader's mind - that is the beauty of the equation - it is hardly mathematical - it is saying there is a clear relationship between environmental impact, population number, technological sophistication and affluence. I agree that this, to be used as a strict mathematical equation is highly suspect and a gross simplification - but it draws attention to key ideas in a fantastically simple and clear way. I think you do it a disservice by removing the words "technology" and "affluence" which helps us ultimately in the management of sustainability. Granitethighs 07:44, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

I think that the original sentence bowls over all the nuances that I brought up here. I completely dispute the concept that consumption the driving force behind environmental impact--and if there's any one thing I feel strongly about it's keeping this sentence (and idea) off the page. Consumption of resources can have a negative impact, no impact, or even a positive impact on ecosystems (if I make pesto out of garlic mustard gathered from a patch invading the edge of a forested area in Delaware). In terms of consumption, it matters whether or not the consumption is sustainable (which involves whether the resource is renewable and whether it's being used in a sustainable way). Also, environmental impact can happen without "consumption", and indeed, many of the largest historical environmental impacts have been unassociated with consumption-- i.e. the introduction of invasive species to a new habitats; this does not correspond to any sort of consumption of resources, and yet can be devastating ecologically. Cazort (talk) 14:02, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Also as afterthoughts. You have placed tags on various sentences in the article and especially this section. That is fine. However, as you are interested in the topic there is no reason why you cannot add references yourself. And, as Epipelagic notes, you are not an exception - your additions need citations too. Giving citations also help us to understand where you are "coming from". Granitethighs 08:48, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Like most editors, I tend to place those tags on things that I would be inclined to delete, and use the tags to give other editors a window of opportunity to respond before removing them. For example, I think the link to demand management is introduced through the use of WP:Weasel Words (in this context passive voice, not identifying who or what is encouraging this approach). I think you're right though that I've been criticizing and deleting more than adding material and sources. Part of this is because I think the article is pretty long and I tend to like to edit by cleaning out bad material before I start adding new material in but maybe since there seems to be so much controversy surrounding the parts I'd like to delete, it would be prudent for me to focus more on a positive approach--I'll try to focus on this to move forward! =) Cazort (talk) 14:02, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Cazort. I’ll give you some meat to get your teeth into – seeing as you seem to want a debate. I agree that the basic categories we use to discuss sustainability are contentious. I think of my personal environmental impact in terms of my “consumption” of the interrelated categories of “energy”, “materials”, “water”, and “food” – others would choose different categories. I like all these categories, including "consumption" because they are well established in the public domain and relatively simple to understand. We “consume” to meet our basic needs for these things – but often consuming more than our basic needs. Your point that our use of resources (consumption) is not always negative is valid. But “overall” (globally) our consumption of water, energy etc. (this is well cited in the article) has reached a point where unless consumption is carefully managed there will be extremely unpleasant consequences for many. This special program of resource use management we call “sustainability”. In managing our resource use “sustainably” there has been a shift in emphasis from tackling “on-the-ground” direct environmental destruction (the effects of logging, mining, overfishing, water pollution, emissions, aquifer depletion etc.) to managing the “driver” of these negative impacts – which is our need for and use of resources – the demands of our consumption. The mind-boggling physical throughput of the global economy (our combined production and consumption if you like) is an issue that ecological economists are trying to address now. We become more sustainable by modifying the way we consume … by consuming fewer resources (which is not easy when the means to access these resources (money) is becoming more generally available), recycling the resources we do use, using more environmentally benign technology (e.g. renewable energy), spending money on services rather than resources and so on. It is because consumption is not universally and uniformly destructive that we can manage it more sustainably … but it is still consumption. It is also possible to quantify consumption through measures like the ecological footprint rather than I=PAT.

This rather “preachy” and didactic diatribe from me is, in essence, much more neatly, briefly and cleverly summarized by I=PAT - and in this article we need brevity (see tag at start) even though the relationships in this equation do not have mathematical precision.

I really can be persuaded to change words, like “consumption”, or shift the emphasis on certain categories but, as yet, you have not convinced me or other editors of the case for doing so – and you have not backed up your views with citations.

It is because consumption is not universally and uniformly destructive that we have the option to manage it more sustainably … in fact the idea of “sustainable consumption” is gathering momentum …… but it is still consumption, nevertheless. Find a better word.

Consumption and its relationship to environmental degradation can certainly be quantified, albeit in only general terms. In addition to the examples already given, see:

Robins, N. and Roberts, S. (1998) Consumption in a Sustainable World, Workbook prepared for the OECD Workshop on Consumption in a Sustainable World, Kabelvaag, Norway, 2-4 June.

Anja Schaefer & Andrew Crane (2005). Addressing Sustainability and Consumption. Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 25, No. 1, 76-92.

Try also: [3] a terrific example of the way the link between the two can be quantified.

In summary: The suggestion from other editors (seems a good solution to me), is that you leave the formula with its brief introductory text then, in a few succinct and well-chosen words, point out its limitations, adding one or two of the many citations in the literature that discuss the deficiencies of I=PAT. Granitethighs 09:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC) P.S. from now on I restrict myself to no more than 3 sentences per comment.

This is one long ridiculously preachy article

This article is very opinionated, quite unscientific, and seems nothing more than a soap box for the United Nations and/or far wing environmental groups. No opposing view is ever discussed and while mentioning "most scientists agree", I dare you to find some outside of the UN and environmental groups you exhaustively credit your sources to that actually agree. Here I will include a link or two with an opposing view of the world's carrying capacity. Heaven forbid mankind actually make space stations or colonize the moon or rest of the solar system, that would just throw your whole argument right out. And if you want to take the extreme scientific view, then it comes down to survival of the fittest and whatever humans, the dominant species of the planet, want to do, we can and should do. The "Transition" section could really make someone hurl. Take your argument, present it as fact, then guilt trip mindless sheep humans to "reduce their personal impact on the environment through small, cheap and easily achievable steps" Never mind that all the garbage in America for the next 100 years could be held in a landfill 10 mi x 10 mi x 255 feet You can take it out to 1000 years if you make it 30 mi x 30 mi. But oh wait, environmentalist would never want us to do that, it would RUIN some barren stretch of DESERT. Just like the same people don't want solar power arrays and solar furnaces built in barren stretches of desert. Just like storing all the nuclear waste--the cheapest, cleanest, safest power source on this Earth--could be done in one mountain complex (Yucca Mountain--which has been stalled by false environmental concerns). This is all about power and control. Make up a false dilemma, then make it so people have to do and act exactly as you want them to for the "betterment of the whole planet."Guardian of Elona (talk) 04:50, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

First 2 links are from 2001 so it's arguably to be out-dated (especially in this subject area). The last link is from a blog, which doesn't meet the reliable source guideline. OhanaUnitedTalk page 05:19, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

17th to 19th centuries - fossil fuels?

"But it was the Western industrial revolution of the 17th to 19th centuries that tapped into the vast growth potential of the energy in fossil fuels to power sophisticated machinery technology.[28]"

The citation goes to a source about cholera, not fossil fuels. Also, 17th century? Seems at least one century too early for the Industrial Revolution. Scoopczar (talk) 20:26, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Will fix these.Granitethighs 09:58, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Business Connotations?

Pyramid Scheme links to this page and references the term in context of business/money. Was this intentional, and this page isn't complete, or is the link wrong in assuming that this page is also about that meaning of "sustainability?" Magicallydajesus (talk) 12:40, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

GA candidate?

I know that a tremendous amount of work has gone into this article, and that some editors had high hopes for it. Surely it would be worth nominating this article at WP:GAN? It would be great to see this article become a GA. Johnfos (talk) 21:53, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it would be a great opportunity to sharpen up the references and apply some fine-tuning to the editing. I'll certainly help.Granitethighs 22:37, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
The article is still a mess. It's overlong, polemical, and indiscriminate in its approach to the topic of sustainability. I think we need to seriously address those issues before this article is submitted for GA consideration. Uncle Dick (talk) 22:48, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Totally agree with the tag at the top of the article which says: "This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably" -- some content needs to be spun off into sub-articles per WP:Summary style, with a summary being left here. The "Environmental dimension" section is also tagged and so needs some work. Some inline tags need attending to in the "Consumption — population, technology, resources" section. Some copyediting is needed and I notice that this piece of random text, "[[File:control over the environment." appears in the History section. Once these changes are made I think the article would be ready for GAN... Johnfos (talk21 September 2010 (UTC)
Johnfos thanks for your suggestion. I see there are 240 watchers to this page ... which indicates to me both its popularity and its "controversiality". Not sure where we go from here but thanks for your positive and encouraging suggestion.Granitethighs 23:39, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, GT. I would think that cutting down the Sustainability measurement section should be a first step, as there is already an article on this which is linked to. Then decide what can be split from the article, leaving just a summary here. GAs do not need to be long, in fact reviewers are pleased to see WP:Summary style being used. Hope this helps. Johnfos (talk) 00:00, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I've done quite a bit of editing today and article is shorter now due to trimming and use of summary style, and it is easier to navigate and read due to the amalgamation of many single paragraph sections. Please see edit summaries for full details. I plan to submit the article at GAN tomorrow. Johnfos (talk) 03:15, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

That's much cleaner now JF. Thanks for doing all that. My only comment would be to do with the "transition" section that was removed. You were right that this was at least in part a "wrapping up": if Wikipedia does not do that ... then so be it. However, any positive suggestions for ways of achieving sustainability are extremely valuable in an article that has the potential to become very "gloomy". Is there no place for the sentence (or variation of) "There is a wealth of advice available to individuals wishing to reduce their personal impact on the environment through small, cheap and easily achievable steps. But the transition required to reduce global human consumption to within sustainable limits involves much larger changes, at all levels and contexts of society. The United Nations has recognised the central role of education, and have declared a decade of education for sustainable development, 2005–2014, which aims to "challenge us all to adopt new behaviours and practices to secure our future". The Worldwide Fund for Nature proposes a strategy for sustainability that goes beyond education to tackle underlying individualistic and materialistic societal values head-on and strengthen people's connections with the natural world." Much as I like the inclusion of Bookchin I think having him almost at the end is not appropriate (and Deep Ecology is also a bit much for the casual reader - it needs to be in, but not in the last sentence) - the idea that we need some sort of "transformation" to achieve sustainability is very important and should be clearly expressed in some positive way - preferably near the end. I think the above sentence (with added references) catches the right tone.Granitethighs 11:36, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks GT. I've swapped the order of the last two sections so the article ends on a more positive note, and have re-added the text you have suggested... Johnfos (talk) 01:00, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Sustainability/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Sasata (talk) 04:23, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Greetings, I've signed up for this review. I think it's fantastic this is at GAN, it's a subject I'm very interested in. I will read through carefully and make minor copyedits as I go along, and bring other stuff up for discussion here. The review will probably take me up to a week, as I have to balance my wikitime among several projects :) Sasata (talk) 04:23, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi Sasata. Glad that you are able to do the review. Feel free to discuss things as you go along, as we have a number of editors who will be watching this page, and who should be able to help :) Johnfos (talk) 04:51, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for taking up the running with this Sasata - haven't we met somewhere before? J, I like what you have done and am not requesting change. I like the way you have saved the culled information. The following thoughts are to possibly tease out issues and better presentation of ideas only.
  • The headings ‘environment’, ‘society’ and ‘economics’ reflect the “three pillars” of sustainability. Would it help either the understanding of the reader or editor presentation of these topics if they all had identical subheadings? So, since we have the subheadings “environmental management” and “management of human consumption” under Environmental dimension, why not “economic management” with “management of human consumption” under Economic dimension (or, vice-versa, have different subheadings under Environmental dimension?
  • Similarly we have a Main sub-article “Sustainability and environmental management”, for consistency should we also have “Sustainability and economic/social management” sub-articles?
  • We can worry about it later but the “Sustainability and environmental management” sub-article is currently rather illogically presented – and clearly a “dumping ground” for extraneous info – the headings don’t relate and the content is not intuitive. Most of it is actually in the current sustainability article so what is its purpose?
  • We have removed the “Extinctions” section – but wouldn’t some argue that sustainability and irreversible loss of biodiversity are intimately connected. Do they have a point and should extinction at least get a mention?
  • Various sources quote biological invasions as the third greatest impact on biodiversity after climate change and land clearing. Is this relevant to sustainability and if so perhaps some mention could be made of it in the article as the "Biological invasions" section has now been removed?

Granitethighs 11:17, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Sustainability is a huge topic and not everything about it can be included in a single WP article. So some material appears in sub-articles, and recently the sub-article Sustainability and environmental management was created. This was in response to a tag at the top of this article suggesting that the article was "too long" and that WP:Summary style should be used. As this main article expands other sub-articles may be spun off, but for now it is within WP length requirements, and so there is no need for more sub-articles at this stage.
When an article is spun off, and a summary left here, there is inevitably some loss of detailed information in the main article. And the loss of information relating to Extinctions and Biological invasions has been questioned. So I have added links to Extinction and Introduced species in the See also section. This gives these topics a mention in the main article but still helps to keep the "Environmental dimension" section manageable.
As for the "Economic dimension" and "Social dimension" sections they are not too long and are fine as they are. I don't see any advantage in making the sub-headings there follow those used in the "Environmental dimension" section. Johnfos (talk) 20:40, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
That's fine. The only remaining query is why most of the sub-article Sustainability and environmental management is the same as the section in the main article? Granitethighs 11:10, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
The summary in the main Sustainability article (reproduced at User:Johnfos/Drafts) is 8,827 bytes long with a total of 16 references, whereas the Sustainability and environmental management sub-article is 20,809 bytes long with 36 references. So the sub-article is a lot (12k) longer than the summary section in the main article, which is the way it should be. And as the new sub-article expands that difference would get greater. Johnfos (talk) 16:14, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I've read through the article and made a number of minor copyedits, feel free to revert anything you don't agree with. I thought the article was very well done—engaging prose, good use of summary style, amply cited. Here's a few thoughts I had: Sasata (talk) 16:14, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

  • why include a year in the captions to the images in the definition section? It's not vital information to understand the concepts presented, and readers can check the citation if they want to know when it was published.
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 01:59, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • in a few cases a citation was in the middle of a sentence when I thought it would do equally well at the end. For example,
  • "But sustainability is also a call to action, a task in progress or “journey”[20] and therefore a political process, so some definitions set out common goals and values." here the placement of the cite indicates (to me) that emphasis is placed on showing the source of the quote word "journey". So is the remainder of the sentence OR, or is the idea also from the same source? If it is, then the cite should be placed at the end.
Fixed Granitethighs 21:43, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "...because the number of children under age 15 in developing countries will decrease." How do we know for sure? Wouldn't it be more accurate to say " predicted to decrease." ?
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 01:59, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "Long-term estimates of global population suggest a peak at around 2070 of nine to ten billion people, and then a slow decrease to 8.4 billion by 2100." This is interesting, is there any explanation of why this (predicted) decrease will happen?
Readers can look up the cited article - the explanation would probably take up quite a lot of space and there are other large articles on WP about population - and the article does give links to these.Granitethighs 21:49, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • In the "Environmental dimension" section, it should be possible to discuss the two major ways of reducing human impact without having to indent paragraphs and dividing into a and b
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 18:21, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "At the local human scale, major sustainability benefits accrue from the pursuit of green cities and sustainable parks and gardens." benefits accrue from just pursuing them? I would have thought benefits would accrue from implementing them.
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 18:21, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "The ideas of embodied resource use (the total resources needed to produce a product or service), resource intensity (the resources needed for each dollar spent on a good or service), and resource productivity (the amount of good or service produced for a given input of resource) are important tools for understanding the impacts of consumption with simple key resource categories indicating human needs being food, energy, materials and water." This long sentence seems a bit awkward to me.
Fixed Johnfos (talk) 18:56, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "... this percentage is likely to increase if climate change worsens ..." How are we defining "worsens"?
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 18:56, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "Humans currently use 40–50% of the globally available freshwater" when is currently? Better to use "According to a 1998 estimate" or something similar that gives a date.
Fixed Granitethighs 21:56, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "The World Health Organization has published a Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health which was endorsed" missing something like "... has published (a set of recommendations titled/a report) ..."
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 21:06, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "water-self-sufficient" should reword to avoid the consecutive hyphens
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 04:31, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "The average human uses 45–85 tonnes of materials each year." Could this be clarified? What exactly does "use" imply here?
Removed this confusing statement. Johnfos (talk) 21:06, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "In the second half of the 20th century world population doubled, food production tripled, energy use quadrupled, and overall economic activity quintupled." Compared to what? The first half of the century?
Have removed this confusing sentence which added little. Johnfos (talk) 09:25, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "etc." should be used sparingly, and removed if possible. For example, in the sentence:
  • "One approach to this dilemma has been the attempt to "internalise" these "externalities" by using market strategies like ecotaxes and incentives, tradeable permits for carbon, water and nitrogen use etc., and the encouragement of payment for ecosystem services."
Here the use of the word "like" before giving the list implies that it's only a reprentative sampling, and the etc. isn't really required. There's some other instances in the article that might be tweaked out. Also, is water and nitrogen use a "market strategy"?
Removed "water and nitrogen use etc." so sentence makes more sense. Johnfos (talk) 08:55, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
  • "Community currencies such as LETS... " should spell out the acronym (at least on first usage)
Fixed. Johnfos (talk) 04:31, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • there are a few citations to books that don't have the page numbers
  • citation formatting not completely consistent: most use templates, but some don't; listing of authors varies sometimes (e.g. compare Hawken, P, Lovins, A.B. & L.H. versus Devall, W. and G. Sessions); et al. should be in italics. It's not a huge deal for GA, but since we're here, we might as well clean them up a bit, no?
Have changed et al. to et al. Johnfos (talk) 20:51, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Many thanks for reviewing and for your help, Sasata. I hope enough improvements have been made to bring the article up to GA standard, but agree that more work on the citations would be needed if the article was to proceed to FA. Johnfos (talk) 20:51, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
We're pretty close... there's a few dabs that need to be fixed up, listed here. Sasata (talk) 15:51, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I've fixed the dabs - except for the "sustainability governance" thingy - not sure how to do this. At some time (too busy now) I will go systematically through all the references for consistency.Granitethighs 22:15, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • One more thing, the lead needs a bit of work, it's not really functioning as a summary of the article now as the MOS suggests. For an article this size, I'd expect it to be a full three or four paragraphs. Also, there shouldn't be quotes in the lead, especially those not in the article body. Should Wikipedia be giving such a prominent spotlight to a Californian environmentalist, in an important article that's viewed several thousand times daily? (no offence to Paul Hawken, btw, I just think the quote should be moved, not removed) Sasata (talk) 04:59, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Lead now provides a better summary of the article. Johnfos (talk) 06:16, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Alright, I think my job here is done. Thanks Johnfos and Granitethighs for your improvements to this article. Sasata (talk) 14:56, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Results of review

GA review (see here for criteria)

The article sustainability passes this review, and has been promoted to good article status. The article is found by the reviewing editor to be deserving of good article status based on the following criteria:

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    Prose is well-written, uses summary style; article complies with MOS. Reference formatting consistency sufficient for GA.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    Several references were checked, nothing was amiss.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    All images are PD or are appropriately licensed.
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail: Pass

Sustainability template discussion

There is a discussion here concerning the suitability of Template:Sustainability, which watchers of this page may be interested in contributing to. --Epipelagic (talk) 08:38, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Sorry. I should have noted it here. Thanks. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:36, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
There is further discussion here about the scope and format of this currently rather messy template, which needs input from editors with some acquaintance with sustainability issues. --Epipelagic (talk) 21:36, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Tenbrooks10, 26 November 2010

{{edit semi-protected}}

Just trying to help. Footnote 8 has a bad link for 60/1. 2005 World Summit Outcome. The correct one is:

Tenbrooks10 (talk) 23:45, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

 Done. Thank you for your contribution to Wikipedia. Intelligentsium 01:58, 27 November 2010 (UTC)


I have looked up sustainability, and the answer there does not give me the information I am looking for. If anyone could give me any information about what SUSTAINABLE means then I would be very grateful. Thankyou for any info. -- (talk) 06:09, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Tried Wiktionary? --Thrissel (talk) 16:35, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

This article only describes sustainability exclusively from an ecological context. It should be discussed from a life-cycle context for systems engineering - whether it be an ecological system or a technological should make no difference. Contrast with "sustainable energy" for example.-- (talk) 02:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

The article is really quite broad in its coverage, and discusses the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability. Johnfos (talk) 02:32, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

There are engineering implications of sustainability that are severely lacking, and the term is derived from the cost of life-cycle (particularly post-development) activities with engineering. This is not outside of sustainable energy, but remains relevant to biological sciences as well.-- (talk) 01:35, 25 May 2011 (UTC) This article is severely lacking in engineering sustainability. Whether ecological or technological, every system has a life-cycle, and it comes at a cost, or a cost-benefit. One can measure benefit in (still undefined) social or environment impact, although impact to business or economics is a lot easier to measure. Case examples are truly lacking in this article no matter what the POV.-- (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Something like Cradle to Cradle Design ? (talk) 23:40, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Add Planetary management and Planetary boundaries links to article.

Add Planetary management and Planetary boundaries wikilinks to article. (talk) 05:47, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Have added links to Sustainability and environmental management. Johnfos (talk) 06:37, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Add cross-reference wikilinks in related articles? Such as in Talk:Climate change mitigation scenarios, Talk:Planetary management, and Talk:Environmental management? See Talk:Sustainability and environmental management? (talk) 21:07, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Considering your history in adding some clearly incorrect Wikilinks, and many tangentally related links, I would like to see specific reasons for each of those links. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:43, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Saw this on Talk:Planetary_management#Include_Environmental_management_as_this_article_is_about_global_environmental_management_of_Earth
... Who's history?
This "history": User:Arthur_Rubin#Global_warming_.2F_climate_change ? (talk) 05:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, that points to some of your history of adding clearly incorrect Wikilinks. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 10:09, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Is Special:Contributions/ an addition? If so, should you state "108 Anon." also? (talk) 07:09, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
You're all clearly the same person, and most of edits were done by 99. anons. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:21, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Is Special:Contributions/ also? And see User talk: (Special:Contributions/ ... What "Lie"? Who is deceiving who? Obscurantism, Fear, uncertainty and doubt, Denialism ... Are you / have you been deceived? Are you deceiving or attempting to deceive others, or yourself? What is the root(s) and what are the branches?
Are you numb, Figure.09, or is it just more Lying from You ... de:Fragetechnik / zh:六何法 / es:Cinco W / what, What?
Whatever you are, please temper your weaponizing wp attitude ... (talk) 21:12, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, all the same, or pretending to be the same. Excessive, and many clearly inappropriate (including at least 2 absurd in your last post), wikilinks (including retrofitting additional wikilinks on those of other anons), wikilinking the entire edit summary, often saying "per talk" when the talk page has not one word in favor of the edit. I don't think I could fake that mode if I tried. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:36, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Please, help me understand what you are attempting to communicate. (talk) 23:04, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

  1. All the IPs make the same edits with the same bizarre edit summaries; you're either all the same or some of you are using the style of the others.
  2. Most of the excess Wikilinks in the "See also" section are tangential, at best. Assuming you're the same editor who was trying to add to each instance of the number "350" in Wikipedia, your mission is to improve connectivity to your favorite pages.
  3. Pretending that a word such as "emotions" must be linked, even though the meaning is obvious, or replaced by "affect", even though the meaning is not in the wikipedia article. I can't imagine the purpose
  4. Creating fake wikilinks (such as numb and Lying from You, above). Again, I can't imagine the purpose.
  5. Creating easter eggs, such as [[scientific consensus on global warming|individual opinions on global warming]]. I think the purpose is again to direct traffic to your preferred articles, but here, it's at the expense of accuracy.
  6. Spamming {{for|the current climate change|global warming}} on all articles containing the word "global warming" or "climate change" in the title. I'm not sure what the purpose is, here, either.
All of this is against Wikipedia policy and guidelines, and should be stamped out. As "you" are an IP, the alternatives would be to semiprotect all climate change articles, or block your IP ranges. I don't recommend the first, and I suspect that there are some sensible editors using the IPs in your range, so the second would have the unfortunate effect of blocking rational editors. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:29, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Keeping in mind what Wikipedia is and is not ... for point 3 are you referring to Keynesian economics's Animal spirits (Keynes) and Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism? This Talk page is for Sustainability, not your trunk, using the previous public comment's metaphor. (talk) 01:10, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm explaining why your edits are almost always bad, and so should be considered questionable here. I'd put the edits in question here in category 2, but the fact that you make bad edits in the other categories can be taken into account. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:23, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Bad, is that really the word for which you look? Could you be more cordial, pithy, civil, and helpful please? (talk) 08:17, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
What I'm looking for is "harmful to Wikipedia". "Bad" seems adequate for that.
I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you first started linking to every instance of the number "350" in Wikipedia. But, after you kept doing it, even after being informed it was inappropriate, you've lost any credibility you may have. I'm still attempting to assume good faith, but your goals in editing are incompatible with Wikipedia's goals. I'm tempted to invoke WP:COMPETENCE; even assuming good faith, allowing you to edit requires more cleanup than your few good edits are worth. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:46, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

How are wikilinks to related topics within articles "harmful"? (talk) 20:32, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

And that's about enough of that. Semi-protected. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:51, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Sustainability and Poverty

The sustainability and poverty section is a contribution from a student in Spring 2011 Conservation Biology (Bill Platt) at Louisiana State University. Any feedback on the contribution by the community will be appreciated. BJC 22:21, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

A new editor has asked for feedback on the following which has been inserted in the main article. Could other editors assist in providing feedback please?

A major hurdle to achieve sustainability is the alleviation of poverty. It has been widely acknowledged that poverty is one source of environmental degradation. Such acknowledgment has been made by the Brundtland Commission report Our Common Future[1] and the Millennium Development Goals[2]. According to the Brundtland report, “poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems. It is therefore futile to attempt to deal with environmental problems without a broader perspective that encompasses the factors underlying world poverty and international inequality.”[3] Individuals living in poverty then to rely heavily on the ecosystem as a source for basic needs (such as nutrition and medicine) and general well-being.[4] As population growth continues to increase, increasing pressure is being placed on the ecosystem to provide these basic essentials. According to the UN Population Fund, high fertility and poverty have been strongly correlated, and the world’s poorest countries also have the highest fertility and population growth rates.[5]

Thank you, I think this is an excellent addition to the article – well done. And good to have you joining the WP community.

The overall content is IMO fine (which is the main thing) and needs little attention – just minor editing. In the spirit of assisting new editors though I will run through some suggestions especially concerning WP protocols and editing in general as this might help in future.

  • Although it is good to be “bold” in editing, where an article is of a fairly high standard like this one which is a GA or when a topic that has the potential to be controversial (see this article has been partially "locked" to editors), it makes editing easier and less stressful if new material is presented first on the “talk” page. This allows for free discussion of any issues before it is placed live in the article itself. If editors disagree with content that goes straight into the main article it can lead to “edit wars” with people reverting changes again and again – best if this can be sorted out on the talk page.
  • Brevity. Perhaps the greatest skill of editing is to convey ideas as briefly and clearly as possible, cutting out all unnecessary and extraneous material. Of course, opinions will differ on exactly how this is to be done in any given case but I think we could reduce what you have said just a little. For example, the heading “Poverty” would probably be sufficient for the new material as we can assume the "sustainability" bit. I have reduced a little of the rest of the material too as you will see.
  • I have removed “It has been widely acknowledged that poverty is one source of environmental degradation” simply because it is often pointed out that such statements really need back-up evidence and citations. In other words, what is “widely acknowledged” can be a matter of opinion and WP always requires citations to back up assertions. This case is innocuous but it helps to get into good habits.
  • One suggestion that you might like to follow up as a minor addition. In the literature it is often suggested that statistically it has been shown that the education of women in regions of poverty leads to smaller families which breaks or at least alleviates the cycle of poverty and environmental deterioration. What do you think? This might be worth mentioning but it would need citation(s).

The following, slightly adjusted content is suggested. We may well, I hope, get suggestions or from other editors.


One major hurdle for sustainability is the alleviation of poverty. Both the Brundtland Commission report Our Common Future[136] and the Millennium Development Goals[137] draw attention to the link between poverty and environmental degradation. According to the Brundtland report, “poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems. It is therefore futile to attempt to deal with environmental problems without a broader perspective that encompasses the factors underlying world poverty and international inequality.”[138] Those living in poverty rely heavily on the ecosystem as a source of basic needs (such as nutrition and medicine) and general well-being.[139] As the world population increases so does the pressure on the ecosystem to provide essentials. According to the UN Population Fund, high fertility and poverty have been strongly correlated, and the world’s poorest countries also have the highest fertility and population growth rates.[140]

Hope this is some help.Granitethighs 00:58, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Granitethighs, thank you for our warm welcome to the WP community. I am especially grateful for your advice on WP protocols, honestly I was not aware of these code of conduct. I was under the impression I would follow the referencing and neutrality guidelines. I'll be sure to adhere to these protocols going forward.

Upon reviewing your edits I would agree with these changes. Secondly, I am aware of the statistics on education of women, smaller families and poverty alleviation. I'll try to gather some sources on this topic.

At this time, would you recommend that the section "Poverty and Sustainability" be taken down from the main page and brought to the "talk" page, or can we incorporate your edits and leave it on the main page? Best regards, Narendra.lsu

Thanks Narendra, I'm glad that was some help. You can indent your comments on the talk page by using the colon(s) (see start of this comment). As your entry on the main page has not roused editors to make changes I would leave it there: it also indicates general approval if there is not an immediate response to changes, so you can see you have made a valuable contribution. It is unusual not to get a few other editors making comments on the talk page so I would wait a couple of days for more feedback before updating to the new agreed version of this section. I hope you continue editing on Wikipedia.Granitethighs 23:28, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I like this addition to the article and agree with Granitethighs' tweaks. The only further change I would suggest would be to be more specific when referring to "the ecosystem." Ecosystems are usually thought of as the habitat that a number of species interact with e.g., a marsh, a forest. Thus there is not one ecosystem, but many. I suggest we replace "the ecosystem" with "local ecosystems..." Otherwise, great. Sunray (talk) 07:24, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Also see Ecosystem services. (talk) 04:03, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Cultural dimension

Agenda 21 - adding an additional "dimension" needs discussion on this page as it is contentious and will require alterations within the rest of the text. Perhaps you could insert the text you would like in the article on this talk page and allow editors to comment on its introduction to the main article? You might also consider estabishing a user page to aid communication.Granitethighs 22:28, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Possible resource: July/August 2011 Environment magazine Editors picks by by Robert Harriss

From (talk) 21:44, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Very useful - thank you. Great materials for the sustainability student. I have included references to this seminal material in both this article and the one on Sustainability science.Granitethighs 08:36, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
You are very welcome. (",) (talk) 21:27, 7 July 2011 (UTC)


A NPOV template was placed at the top of this page stating. "This page is much too much like green revolution and not objective in terms of classical definitions of sustainment preceeding the 1980's. It needs balance."-- (talk) 01:09, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

This is not a contructive basis for discussion - the article is the result of long discussion. Please forward cogent arguments. The template has been removed.Granitethighs 22:38, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

I disagree completely and vehemently. My edits were reverted as well. The world is engineered by man and has been for thousands of years - ecological sciences are not the only topic area for sustainability. We mine the mountains, channel rivers, manufacture and transport products, bioengineer food. At some point, cost-effective practices come into play in order to maximize economic benefit for any engineered product. Sustainable Engineering is a viable topic and within scope of the article topic.-- (talk) 00:56, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Special:Contributions/, maybe see articles such as Cradle to Cradle Design, portals such as Portal:Sustainable development, and other articles through searching categories such as Category:Sustainable development? (talk) 02:25, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

My point is the article limits the definition of sustainability to the point of hijacking it for political purposes, limiting discussion only to a constrained area and ignoring all others. Sustainable energy is a prime example - the economic and engineering analysis of such manufactured technology tends to be ignored. Sustainability must consider life-cycle, for everything has a beginning and an end. Infinite sustainability is only a fantasy.-- (talk) 02:51, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

IP - could I ask that you take up a User name if you wish to edit on Wikipedia - it just makes the business of communication much easier and friendly. On your various points:

  • Your edits were reverted because they were major edits having a major effect on the presentation of the article. This article has achieved GA status which means that it has been assessed by a review process as being of high standard. The content is the result of lengthy discussion and debate over a long period of time and the achievement of a consensus on its content. That does not mean that it is perfect or that it cannot be improved. However, in these circumstances it is considered polite to make your suggestions for majorchange on this page so that they can be discussed with other people interested in the article.
  • I think you are doing the article a disservice by suggesting it has left out large sections of knowledge: it does cover manufacturing, transport, food and energy, the latter two topics receiving whole sections. Clearly engineering has a very important role to play but I do not think it can be treated as a separate item. The lead and other parts of the article suggest that just about all human activity relates to sustainability so isolating individual topics, like sustainable engineering, sustainable transport, sustainable architecture, sustainable cities, sustainable chemistry, sustainable buildings and so on does not help. These are best treated as "sub-articles" to this very general one. I would suggest you start an article called "Sustainable engineering" which could be linked to this one.
  • I think your point that the article has been hijacked for political purposes is unfounded, but you might like to expand on how it has done this and what the political agenda might be, and also remind you that it has been produced after long debate and consensus.
  • Could I ask that if you wish to discuss you make simple, clear, short points. Statements like "Infinite sustainability is only a fantasy" are not helpful. What exactly is a statement like this expressing other than dissatisfaction? Perhaps others might like to express a view?

Granitethighs 11:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Sustainability ethics

I've removed a section with the title "Sustainability ethics" added by Dyname42 (contribs). The writing of the section is unencyclopedic, in that it appears to be advertising for a book. Both of the citations and most, if not all, of the individuals referred to are contributors to Sustainability Ethics: 5 Questions. I could be wrong, but my guess is that Dyname42 is one of the editors or contributors. Thus, this would be a conflict of interest. In any case, it is a major addition to the article and should be discussed here before being added. Sunray (talk) 03:21, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Conservation (ethic) related? (talk) 20:56, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Tangential links

Why add planetary boundaries and limits to growth (referring to the book)? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:26, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

The concepts of planetary boundaries and limits to growth are valuable ideas that are directly related to the notion of carrying capacity. These links allow the reader to follow up for themselves the difficult notion of "carrying capacity" which cannot be explained in detail in this section. I was very reasonably requested to add planetary boundaries to the article which I have done because it improves content. Thanks for discussing this on the talk page but at the moment your deletion is against consensus so I have reverted it. Please do not start an edit war, I have made these adjustments in good faith and your view appears to be in a minority. I would welcome other people's views.Granitethighs 01:58, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Both times you've added it, it hasn't made sense in context. Perhaps there's a reasonable way to add planetary boundaries, but it's not normally considered related to carrying capacity. The article "limits to growth" refers to the book, not the concept, so is not relevant either to sustainability or carrying capacity. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 06:42, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Arthur "carrying capacity" refers to resource and other constraints that can be absorbed by the planet before serious breakdown ensues - in other words it is examining "limits" and "boundaries". The connection is most definitely direct not tangential. As I said before, this article is very much reduced and both these links provide valuable explanatory material for anyone interested in the topic. Yes, "Limits to growth" is a book but this link explores in some detail many of the issues relating to "carrying capacity". I think you have some sort of agenda going here as you are not being reasonable. As IMO you are engaging in tendentious editing and you and I are unlikely to agree I am appealing for other people to comment. If you have support I am willing to defer but in the meantime please leave the article in its "consensus" condition. Granitethighs 06:58, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Tagging. The connection is disputed, not sourced, and likely synthesis even if parts are sourced. And the book Limits to Growth is not at all relevant to sustainability or carrying capacity. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:10, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Thinking about it, planetary boundaries might fit in the "Principles and concepts" section, or in the "Measurement" section, rather than the "Carrying capacity" section. I have no idea where the concept of limits to growth might fit, but Limits to Growth should not be anywhere near this article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:49, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Really , Arthur, you do come up with strange arguments. You said above that "The article 'limits to growth' refers to the book, not the concept, so is not relevant either to sustainability or carrying capacity." Now tight distinctions like that can be useful if you are operating within a formal logic system. But here we are using English, a natural language system, which has a lot of inherent flexibility built into it. I am surprised you have not yet noticed that the book The Limits to Growth is about the concept of "limits to growth". The article on the book is largely about what the book is about, namely the concept of limits to growth. You have presumably read the book, since, only a few days ago, you were making another strange argument on the talk page of that article, arguing that the article should include a formula with an error in it, because the book was printed with an error in it. I have replaced your furious flurry of tags with one tag. --Epipelagic (talk) 09:19, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I will add references - this is fair comment - but hardly necessary - the statement is not contentious in any way. I've just viewed your personal page, Arthur Rubin, and am very confused as you seem to be an intelligent person. In simple terms, sustainability is about what can or cannot endure (in this instance planetary endurance/sustainability depends on its carrying capacity). Whether something can or cannot endure will depend on that state of the factors that allow it to endure, whether these factors are threatened in any way: for example whether they are running out, being destroyed or whatever. Whether you can win a maths competition or not depends on whether you can sustain a greater capacity for answering mathematical question than your competitor. From your point of view it is extremely important to know what is "limiting" your performance, what your "frontiers are". Can you not see this connection between sustainability, limits and frontiers? If I am wrong, please explain the error rather than just making reverting what I have done. Saying "Limits to Growth should not be anywhere near this article" when this is precisely what the whole article is about in general terms seems perverse to say the least. Where are you coming from?Granitethighs 10:24, 12 August 2011 (UTC)