Talk:Sustainability/application-implementation/Archive 1

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  • Application/Implementation - describe the consensus as to how we can go about achieving sustainability, basically; how to put the concepts/description into practice, include links to main articles where appropriate
Water - discuss sustainable water use/management
Food and Agriculture - discuss the need for localised agriculture & food production
Energy - discuss how to transition our energy infrastructure to renewables, include links to main articles on renewable energy
Matierals - discuss the utilisation of appropriate materials, non-toxic, non-carcenogenic, etc
Waste - discuss utilising waste as food for other biological systems, reducing waste, consumerism
Population Control - discuss how to sustain the human population to cope with the available resources
Technology - discuss the need for investment in research of appropriate technology to make it a viable alternative
Social Systems - discuss education, changing habits, social justice, progression of current social/government systems
Urban Structure - discuss transit-oriented urban environments, localised services, eradication of private automobiles in urban areas, sustainable building
Economic Systems - discuss how to progress to better, more consistent, sustained economic systems
Protection and Regeneration of Biospheres - discuss preservation of remnant ecology undisturbed by human activity and how to rezone areas of land for regeneration of native ecology

Sustainability governance Environmentally focused categories
Resource management

Cultivated land
Invasive species
Reclaiming land

Consumption management

Carbon sequestration
Climate change
Materials & waste
Building & construction

Socially focused categories

Population & urbanization
Peace and security
?Environmental law

Economically focused categories

Limits to economic growth
Economic externalities and their role within market structures
Ethical economics – socio-environmental consequences of market behaviour and unregulated market activity

Cultural, psychological and behavioural change


See above for a proposed new structure to think about. Sorry – a content and structure thing again. I know we have "agreed" to the outline but I get a bit stuck at this point in our editing and had better explain why. Its essentially because this is where all the complexity comes streaming in and the careful selection of headings and categories becomes important (but a matter of opinion). We want to avoid repetation and construct it so that people can go to what they are after without too much brow furrowing. It also needs to cohere rather than be just a set of headings. - that is we need to be able to link our thinking from one heading (or set of headings) to the next. For convenience (only) I see protection of the biosphere as being done in two ways – firstly by improved “direct” management of land, waterbodies and atmosphere. Then by managing consumption – the headings then reflect this approach. Anyway - lets discuss a bit.

A number of points for comment:

  • I don’t know how to express what I’ve called the “focused” thingies. Any ideas – or, more to the point what are your thoughts about any other way of dealing with the huge array of topics?
  • Could we have an overall heading for the above topics: “Sustainability governance” or “Governance”. I can understand resistance to this – just say if not appropriate – governance is meant to be implementation at all scales.
  • I also think there are omissions. As many people have pointed out, transforming ourselves into a sustainable society has more to do with cultural, socio-political and behavioural change than most of the content of our article. I think we need a separate heading for this and that what is currently live under this heading needs to be vamped up a bit. I think environmental law has a place, perhaps just the sidebar if there is space!
  • There are headings in the current article that don’t seem to have any bearing on the subject: Peace and security – globalization and governments. Although these might not need headings I think they are topics that do need coverage as they do have a distinct bearing on the topic– however, possibly little more space than they have at present live.

Granitethighs (talk) 03:46, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with everything, except... Your updated outline for this section is well on the way, there are bits n' pieces I'd like to tweak but I'll leave them for when I have more time, but I like the path your going down regarding consumption & resource management. 'Sustainability governance' is just a bit too confusing, it implies that it relates directly to governmental aspects, were after something that encompasses more than just government/administration, etc. I think we should just say 'Implementation' or 'Application' for now, perhaps we can come up with a better name for 'sustainability governance. Nick carson (talk) 11:32, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Side note: The folks at the 'sustainable development portal' havn't commented on my suggestion to change the name to the 'sustainability portal', it's a bold suggestion and the fact that a decent amount of time has passed, as well as some other observations, suggests to me that it's not a particularly active portal, maybe I'm wrong? maybe they don't want to comment? maybe it's time to throw a bees nest in there? Nick carson (talk) 11:37, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, I think you're right, we can ditch "sustainability governance". If getting a clear structure together is too hard we could just "start" and see what happens, massaging this last bit as we go. Granitethighs (talk) 22:47, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Nick carson (talk) 11:01, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Yup. Sunray (talk) 23:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Could I suggest we divide the implementation section into "actual environment management" stuff and "managing consumption" stuff? Here (below) is the current "actual environment" stuff. I think we need more on what is to be done and less on current state of play under these or other headings. Anyway - hop in. By the way are you sick of the side bars ? I think they are good to direct people to detail and can be used all the way through with the sub-headings being summary stuff. Let me know when you think they get over the top - its just that there is so much to point people at - nature of the subject it seems. Granitethighs (talk) 00:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Also I am getting a bit lost in the heading hierarchy - I'll try to sort out how they are working - you can keep me on track. I wonder if the heading "Implementation" is a bit dry. What would you think of something like "Achieving sustainability", "Sustainability action plan" , "Protecting the biosphere" or somesuch. They're not quite right but you see what I mean - any ideas? Granitethighs (talk) 21:58, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
OK the words and headings seem to be getting a bit clearer. Again, could I suggest that we divide Implementation into two sections called Environmental management and Management of consumption. I will add this to the outline list on the Talk page - let me know if you think this is out of order. These are probably more user-friendly than our present headings. I am running out of stam on this section now. I think there is still plenty of room for improvement. Just a good sentence or two for each subhead but environmental management is not my strength. I think OhanaUnited is an Environmental Science student so I will ask him to cast an eye over it for obvious omissions etc. Apart from that I am happy for this to go up. Any other suggestions? Granitethighs (talk) 22:02, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
GT, do you think 'Environmental management' is a good title for that section? Would something like 'Resource Management' be better? I can't crack this one. I think 'Managing consumption' is all good. Nick carson (talk) 12:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree entirely - I've wrestled with this one quite a bit - trying to get across the idea of improving the way we deal with nature itself, and then the way we manage all the indirect drivers of this. I thought about "Resource management" but it is confusing in relation to a lot of talk about resources in the "consumption" section. I agree it does not completely gel but I'm not sure about a simple and clear way out of the problem? As you can see I had a two-way bet by using "Resource management" in the side bar. Granitethighs (talk) 21:54, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
What about something like "Earth Management"? We can always tweak it later when we read through the whole thing it might become aparent that one option is better than the other. Nick carson (talk) 03:00, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Put it up?

OK I'm happy to put this up. Please scan the content for final comments. Thoughts that haven't been fully resolved include:

  • Is "Implementation" OK as a heading or can we do better?
  • Is "Environmental management" OK as a heading or can we do better?
  • There are all sorts of minor topics omitted under each sub-heading. I have tried to include major ones as links but a lot could be included in more side bars. I avoided this so that side bars do not overwhelm the article - but if you think they provide good information and leads then I can add more.
  • Although we are dealing with pics later I can say now that one or two of the pics in this section were originally simply added for decoration. Say if you think they could go - we can always add different ones later.
  • Anything else?

Granitethighs (talk) 22:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that it is ready to go up. "Implementation" and "Environmental management" seem fine as headings. I think that we have covered the main topics and sure, there are many minor topics we don't cover, but we cannot include everything. I don't think we should add more sidebars as they will tend to overwhelm the article, IMO. As t the pics, I like them all, but note that the Beech trees pic is repeated in the sidebar. So we should replace one of those. I'm afraid I don't know exactly what this replaces (obviously the identical sections, but what about other sections in the article - energy, water, etc. - do they stay or go?). By all means put it up. Sunray (talk) 08:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I have replaced this section of the main article with this version. On my computer there is trouble with the hierarchy of headings. Implementation should be a main heading but it has been put lower down in spite of its actual coding. I am not sure how to archive this page now. Most of the remaining material is in the "Managing consumption" section see Talk:Sustainability which is the next bit to work on on the to do list. Granitethighs (talk) 21:22, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what exactly was happening with the hierarchy of headings. One thing I did notice was the level one heading "=Implementation=" thrown in there (as it is below). The MoS suggests that the article title should be the only level one heading in the article. Then all major headings are level 2 and subheadings 3, 4, etc. Sunray (talk) 22:43, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems OK now - perhaps we need to visit the headings later to make sure all is OK. I have put this up now but am not sure about the archiving procedure that we are following. Could I leave that up to you?Granitethighs (talk) 00:39, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan, we'll get a better idea later of how the headings sit in the context of the entire article. Needs some tweaking here and there but we'll make a point to be very thorough when we go over it again. Nick carson (talk) 01:03, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


Healthy ecosystems provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms.[1] There are two major ways of reducing negative human impact and enhancing ecosystem services. The first is to deal with direct human impacts on nature through effective a) environmental management. This approach is based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science and conservation biology.[1] However, this is management at the end of a long series of causal factors that are initiated by human consumption so a second approach is through b) management of human consumption.

Environmental management

Eolienne et centrale thermique Nuon Sloterdijk.jpg

At the global scale and in the broadest sense environmental management involves the oceans, freshwater systems, land and atmosphere, but environmental management can be applied to any ecosystem from a tropical rainforest to a home garden.


Natural Resource Management

Key Concepts

Grib skov.jpg
Water bodies

Management of the global atmosphere involves assessment of all aspects of the carbon cycle to addressing human-induced climate change . This has become a major focus of scientific research because of the potential for catastrophic effects on both biodiversity and human communities (see Energy below). One obvious human impact on the atmosphere is the air pollution in our cities. Air pollutants include toxic chemicals like nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter that produce photochemical smog and acid rain, and the chlorofluorocarbons that degrade the ozone layer. Anthropogenic particulates such as sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere reduce the direct irradiance and reflectance (albedo) of the Earth's surface. Known as global dimming the decrease is estimated at about 4% between 1960 and 1990 although the trend has subsequently reversed. Global dimming may have disturbed the global water cycle by reducing evaporation and rainfall in some areas. It also creates a cooling effect and this may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.[2] [3]


Saltwater fish

Oceans and their circulation patterns have a critical effect on climate, weather and therefore the food supply of both humans and other organisms. Major environmental impacts occur in the more habitable regions of the oceans – the estuaries, coastline and bays. Because of their vastness oceans act as a convenient dumping ground for human waste. Trends of concern that require management include: ocean warming, coral bleaching and sea level rise due to climate change together with the possibility for a sudden alteration of present-day ocean currents which could drastically alter the climate in some regions of the globe; over-fishing (beyond sustainable levels); and ocean acidification due to dissolved carbon dioxide.[4]

Remedial strategies include: more careful waste management, statutory control of overfishing by adoption of sustainable fishing practices, reduction of fossil fuel emissions, restoration of coastal and other marine habitat and environmentally sensitive and sustainable aquaculture and fish farming.


Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface. The oceans contain 97.2% of the Earth's water. The Antarctic ice sheet contains 90% of all fresh water on Earth. Condensed atmospheric water, as clouds, contributes to the Earth's albedo.

Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world’s wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services. Biodiversity-rich freshwater ecosystems are currently declining faster than marine or land ecosystems.[5]Freshwater habitats are the world’s most vulnerable of all major biological systems due to the human need for potable water for food irrigation, industry and domestic use. Human freshwater withdrawals make up about 10% of global freshwater runoff. [6] and of this 15-35% is considered unsustainable - a proportion that is likely to increase as climate change worsens, populations increase, aquifers become progressively depleted and other supplies become polluted and unsanitary.[1] Water security, and therefore food security, remain among the most important environmental management issues to address. Increasing urbanization pollutes clean water supplies and much of the world still does not have access to clean, safe water.[4] In the industrial world demand management has slowed absolute usage rates but increasingly water is being transported over vast distances from water-rich natural areas to areas of increasingly dense urbanisation. Energy-hungry desalination is also becoming more widely used. In general terms, apart from improved efficiencies and infrastructure greater emphasis is now placed on improved management of blue (harvestable) and green (soil water available for plant use) water, and this applies at all scales of management. [7]


Land use change is fundamental to the operations of the biosphere because changes in proportions of land dedicated to agriculture, forest, woodland, grassland and pasture have a marked effect on global water, carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles that can impact negatively on both natural and human systems.[4]


Since the evolution of settled human communities about 10,000 years ago about 47% of the world’s forests have been lost to human use. Present-day forests occupy about a quarter of the world’s ice-free land with about half occurring in the tropics[8] In temperate and boreal regions forest area is gradually increasing (with the exception of Siberia), but deforestation in the tropics is of major concern.

Beech Forest - Grib Skov, Denmark

Forests can moderate the local climate and the global water cycle through their light reflectance (albedo) and evapotranspiration. They also conserve biodiversity, protect water quality, preserve soil and soil quality, provide fuel and pharmaceuticals, and purify the air. These free ecosystem services have no market value and so forest conservation has little appeal when compared with the economic benefits of logging and clearance which, through soil degradation and organic decomposition returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that about 90% of the carbon stored in land vegetation is locked up in trees and that they sequester about 50% more carbon than is present in the atmosphere. Changes in land use currently contribute about 20% of total global carbon emissions (in heavily logged Indonesia and Brazil it is the greatest source of emissions).[9] Climate change can be mitigated by sequestering carbon in reafforestation schemes, new plantations, and timber products. Wood biomass is a renewable carbon-neutral fuel.

The FAO has concluded that, over the period 2005–2050, effective use of tree planting could absorb about 10–20% of man-made emissions – so clearly we need to monitor the condition of the world's forests very closely (both reafforestation and deforestation) as they must be part of any coordinated emissions mitigation strategy as well as being part of the global attempt to protect ecosystem services.[10]

Cultivated land

Rice Paddy

Feeding more than six billion human bodies takes a heavy toll on the Earth’s resources. This begins with the human appropriation of about 38% [11] of the Earth’s land surface and about 20% of its net primary productivity.[12] Added to this are the resource-hungry activities of industrial agribusiness – everything from the initial cultivation need for irrigation water, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to the resource costs of food packaging, transport (now a major part of global trade) and retail. The benefits of food production are obvious: without food we cannot survive. But the list of costs is a long one: topsoil depletion, erosion and conversion to desert from constant tillage of annual crops; overgrazing; salinization; sodification; waterlogging; high levels of fossil fuel use; reliance on inorganic fertilisers and synthetic organic pesticides; reductions in genetic diversity by the mass use of monocultures; water resource depletion; pollution of waterbodies by run-off and groundwater contamination; social problems including the decline of family farms and weakening of rural communities.[13]

All of these environmental problems associated with industrial agriculture and agribusiness are now being addressed through such movements as sustainable agriculture, organic farming and more sustainable business practices.


The extinct Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)

Although effective conservation demands the protection of species within their natural habitats and ecosystems, at a fundamental level loss of biodiversity can be monitored as loss of species. In line with human migration and population growth, species extinctions have progressively increased to a rate unprecedented since the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Known as the Holocene extinction event this human-induced extinction of species ranks as one of the worlds six mass extinction events. Some scientific estimates indicate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100.[14][15]

Loss of biodiversity can be attributed largely to the appropriation of land for agroforestry. Current extinction rate are 100 to 1000 times their prehuman levels with more than 10% birds and mammals threatened, about 8% of plants and 5% of fish and more than 20% of freshwater species.[4]

Biological invasions

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) infesting trees in Atlanta, Georgia

In many parts of the industrial world land clearing for agriculture has diminished and here the greatest threat to biodiversity, after climate change, has become the destructive effect of invasive species. [16] Increasingly efficient global transport has facilitated the spread of organisms across the planet. The most stark human examples are diseases like HIV AIDS, mad cow disease and bird flu but invasive plants and animals are having a devastating impact on native biodiversity.Non-indigenous organisms often quickly occupy disturbed land but can also devastate natural areas where, in the absence of their natural predators, they are able to thrive.

At the global scale this is being addressed through the Global Invasive Species Information Network but there is improved international biosecurity legislation to minimise the transmission of pathogens and invasive organisms and, through CITES legislation, control the trade in rare and threatened species. Increasingly at the local level public awareness programs are alerting communities, gardeners, the nursery industry, collectors, and the pet and aquarium industries, to the harmful effects of potentially invasive species.

  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference MEA2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ [1] Hegerl, G.C. et al. 2007. Climate Change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  3. ^ [2] IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  4. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference MEA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ [3] Hoekstra, A.Y. 2006. The Global Dimension of Water Governance: Nine Reasons for Global Arrangements in Order to Cope with Local Problems. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 20 UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference LPR was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Hoekstra, A.Y. (2006) The global dimension of water governance: nine reasons for global arrangements in order to cope with local water problems. Value of water Research Report Series No. 20. UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.| Available on the web as a pdf file.
  8. ^ World Resources Institute 1998. World resources 1998-1999. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  9. ^ United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 2006 Global forest resources assessment 2005: progress towards sustainable forest management. Forestry paper 147. FAO, Rome.
  10. ^ IPCC, 2006. IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse inventories, vol.4, agriculture, forestry, and other land uses. Institute for global environment strategies, Japan.
  11. ^ [4] Food and Agriculture Association
  12. ^ Imhoff, M.L. et al. (2004). Global patterns in human consumption of net primary production. ‘’Nature’’ 429: 870-873.
  13. ^ Tudge, C. 2004. So Shall We Reap. Penguin Books, London.
  14. ^ Wilson, E.O. 2002. The future of life. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-45078-5
  15. ^ Leakey, R. & Lewin, R. 1995. The sixth extinction: patterns of life and the future of humankind. Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 0-385-46809-1
  16. ^ Randall, R.P. 2002. A global compendium of weeds. R.G. & F.J. Richardson, Meredith, Victoria.