The field of industrial ecology seeks to provide definite answers to such questions as whether it's better to read a book in paper or electronic form or whether garbage dumps might become more efficient sources of some metals than mines. By tracking energy and material flows and producing product life-cycle assessments, researchers in the field attempt to take a systems perspective on environmental concerns.
Harish Hande is the founder of SELCO, a social enterprise established in 1995. The company provides sustainable energy solutions and services to under-served households and businesses in rural parts of Karnataka and Gujarat. Can this "open-source organization" provide a model for powering economic development without devastating the environment?
As more and more companies integrate environmental concerns in their business functions, the role for sustainability professionals has grown. The founder of Sustainability Recruiting comments on this developing field and provides advice for people interested in working in the area.
The Dow Chemical Company provides raw materials for almost every industry, making the international giant part of the supply chain for countless products. The company's chief sustainability officer talks about its efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
How does increasing attention to the long-term environmental impact of our actions create opportunities for innovative businesses? Does it impose new constraints? The Yale SOM Office of Alumni Relations and Qn magazine hosted a discussion on June 17 with four SOM alumni about lessons they’ve learned in advancing the business of sustainability.
Robert Costanza is one of the founders of a trans-disciplinary effort to understand how economics is embedded in the broader ecosystem that supports all human activity. From this perspective, he sees both limits for economic growth and opportunities to improve long-term human well- being.
Relentless population and economic growth is pressuring the systems that support human life. The head of a leading environmental advocacy organization talks about balancing ideals, such as the conservation of natural treasures, with the pragmatic steps and alliances necessary to get the planet on a sustainable path.
If sustainability is understood as the continuation of human life on earth, there is no alternative. Whatever the cost, we have to bear it. But how do we determine the right price to pay right now to ensure survival in the distant future?
The future is not only the domain of economic projections. Writers have long imagined future worlds where life is a totalitarian nightmare, or hubris has led to nuclear or environmental catastrophe. While each dystopia contains unique horrors, the stories often spring from the same well — a feeling that the way we're living now is unsustainable.