S is for Sustainable

| March 2, 2014

In the article, “Sustaining Ourselves: How Can We Best Meet the Needs of Today and Tomorrow?” the author is critical of the current lifestyle of Americans. Despite only being 5 percent of the world’s population, we use one-fourth of the world’s resources each year. In examining three different options, the article aims to answer how we can change some aspects of our current lifestyle while allowing future generations to still meet their needs. The first option argues that we must do whatever we can to reduce our consumption levels as fast as possible. One idea is to have the government use taxes to raise the prices of the resources we are overusing. Allotting everyone the minimum amount necessary for daily tasks would “provide a powerful incentive to install more efficient toilets and appliances or to alter landscaping choices” (5). The second option argues that human ingenuity is the only way we can save ourselves. Limiting economic growth may “choke off the processes most likely to produce the innovations that could head off the very problems some people are so concerned about” (7). Lastly, the third option states that we should reconnect with American values, like altruism and frugality. Growing technological capabilities may be our undoing. Personally, I tend to agree most with the second option as I believe technology can only “raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet” as its evolution has the ability to provide us with clean water, medical care, education, and affordable housing among many other benefits. The first and third options just seem much too unrealistic for our society.