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The Sustainability Transition: An Annotated Bibliography

Essay by   •  November 4, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  4,528 Words (19 Pages)  •  1,606 Views

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The Sustainability Transition: An Annotated Bibliography

Matson, P. (2009). The Sustainability Transition. Sceince & Technology , pp. 39-42.

In the article referenced above Matson is pointing out to the reader that we as a society in whole are faced with the challenge of finding the sustainability sweet spot based on our needs for natural resources. We are growing at a much faster pace than our resources can provide and we must look for ways to substitute some of the products especially oil in our daily lives in a way that is environmentally friendly. The responsibility for this project involves the entire science and technology community. In order for us to find the sweet spot we must look into alternative sources of fuel. This is not a problem to be solved by one specific area of study it involves all aspects of the science and technology community. There must be a concerted effort to have all branches of science and technology work together to tackle these challenges.

In order for this idea to take off, a research plan must be put into place. One of the large areas of concern surrounds the oil industry and our growing demand for it. There is uncertainty around whether or not we will eventually run out of oil and what can be done to prevent this from happening. The author points out that the challenge is not only finding alternative fuel sources but ones that are environmentally friendly. If the focus for change is placed on one specific source it can lead to detrimental causes in other areas of the environment. The proverbial net is being cast out much too wide in order for achieve the results needed. There needs to be a more focused effort on the problem and several consequences need to be addressed in order to completely fix the problem. While much effort is being spent solving one aspect of a problem the solution can lead to challenges in other areas of the problem.

In order for the challenges we face today as a society to be addressed not only must there be a much more focused effort there must also be institutional changes on how we attempt to solve these problems. Academia needs to make a much stronger effort in finding ways for various fields of expertise to work together and combine their research in order bring the various fields of study together to solve the problems presented and find the much desired "sweet spot". Along with the institutional challenges there is also a challenge when dealing with governing bodies. The separation between local, state and federal government is another example of the challenges faced when attempting to mesh together various types of research. Matson clearly states that we know what the problem is and until all aspects of research in science and technology are engaged with each other we will never be able to effectively solve an issue across the board.

The challenges that Matson states that we are facing show an in depth knowledge of the subject matter in a subjective platform. The information given is reliable however I do feel that a few specific examples could have been given when using bio fuels as an example of science and technology need to work together in order to avoid a solution to one problem while creating another one somewhere else. Matson is suggesting a five year plan that would involve integrating research from various science and technology fields without government intervention to solve various problems. The problem Matson speaks of clearly revolves around energy and finding an alternative fuel source that can meet the needs of society as well and remain safe to the environment and be accessible to all.

The Many Languages of Sustainability: An Annotated Bibliography

Badiru, A. B. (2010, November). The Many Languages of Sustainability: IE's should push for better resource utilization across all fields. Indutrial Engineer , pp. 31-34.

In this article Badiru is attempting to give us a clear understanding of what sustainability is in reference to the environment on how Industrial Engineers play a vital role in achieving sustainability. In this article sustainability is defined as the ability to sustain and maintain a process or object at a desirable level of utility. There are many buzz words associated with sustainability today such as "green" and "clean" which essentially define this movement. Our ultimate goal is to attempt to maintain an asset while that asset is in decline. This article is attempting to explain how IE's (Industrial Engineers) can achieve this goal based on their knowledge and resources.

Resource consciousness is a basic solution to many of the problems dealing with excess consumption. Resource consciousness can be related to everyday life in something as simple as purchasing a larger home. A large home means that you are now using more resources in this home; this could serve as an example of the inability to manage resources. This can viewed in almost all aspects of business as well. Consciousness of the resources available and the affects of using the resources on a much larger scale must be viewed in all perspectives of the business.

There are several views of sustainability addressed in this article. The systems view of sustainability attempts to ensure that every aspect and component of a project is taken into consideration when attempting to pursue sustainability. Value sustainability essentially puts a price on sustainability in regards to money, time, and productivity. Will the initial investment pay off in the long run? Can this investment lead to productivity issues based on the morality of the organization and their willingness to pursue this goal? Most importantly the organization must determine if the value in the project can be sustained. The hierarchy of the need to find sustainability and the "sweet spot" are related to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The five needs are:

1. Physiological needs

2. Safety needs

3. Social needs

4. Esteem needs

5. Self-Actualization needs

Badiru states that sustainability can be and is applied to each of the stages. Based on how an organization and its staff react to these five needs determines whether or not sustainability can be reached at both the personal and organizational level. The levels of the organization work directly with Maslow's five needs in that each level is directly related to one of the needs. An example of this would be social needs, on the organizational level and organization wants to belong to some type of alliance or trade group and according to the author does

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