Garrett Hardin: The Search For Sustainability

566 words - 3 pages

Garrett Hardin, an American ecologist, warned of the dangers of overpopulation. In Hardin’s best-known works, “The tragedy of the Commons” and “Lifeboat Ethics,” he talks about the importance of sustainability and requiring everyone to take action. Hardin stresses the importance of evaluating our environment to maintain a high quality of life without sacrificing future generations ability to do the same. Sustainability is having a healthy balance between economic, social, and ecological issues. In my essay, I will expand on these issues and how they are addressed in Hardin’s writings.
Sustainability is Economic. Economically, sustainability involves: Providing sufficient goods and services for a high quality of life, creating worldwide economic justice, and providing meaningful employment. The “spaceship” metaphor from “Lifeboat Ethics” refers to the Earth with a limited amount of resources. It is our duty to ...view middle of the document...

These social arrangements refer to the “commons” area from “Tragedy of the Commons.” As the population of the Earth increases exponentially, the commons area becomes increasingly overused, to the point that it is rendered useless. Hardin states that the optimum population is less than the maximum. The difficulty of calculating the optimum population is an enormous task that will take generations to accomplish. Another significant task of sustainability is to improve human rights based on gender, race, age, disability, religion, and national origin. Improving healthcare and education in developing nations will help to close the digital divide.
From an ecological standpoint, sustainability obliges everyone to achieve total materials recycling, create a sustainable energy system, and bring industrial processes into sync with the pace of the planetary processes. The Earth has a limited range of energy sources. To have a sustainable energy system, we need to concentrate on relying more on renewable energy like sun and wind power. Hardin’s “lifeboat” we live on can only produce a finite amount of materials; consequently, organizations and individuals on the “lifeboat” must make a meaningful effort to reduce the amount of non-renewable resources utilized by relying more on recycled materials.
Sustainability in businesses and organizations is essential to our quality of life and future survival. It is vital that every person takes responsibility for his or her actions and consumption. Individuals and organizations need to be held accountable for what they consume and waste. Society needs to be constantly improving sustainable economic, social, and ecological systems. This constant need for sustainable improvement creates the paradigm that people will wait till the improvement happens. The population is exponentially growing in a world that can only support a finite population. It is our duty to find the answers to our sustainability problems now, and not wait until they work themselves out.

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