Sustainability Saturday – #3

It’s Saturday again – man, did this week go by quickly!

This week we’ll be heading a little more to the theory side, with one exception: BP oil spill top-kill.  You’d almost have to live in a hole in a ground to have missed this, but be sure to keep an eye and an ear out for more status updates today.

So Now To The Theory

This great article explores the relationship between globalization and sustainability in terms of environmental carrying capacity.  This makes sense – it’s what competitive advantage is all about.  But I don’t remember Adam Smith mentioning the ecological ramifications.

The Powerful Vagueness of Sustainability discusses sustainability as a systemic process guided by our best science, instead of as a scientific absolute.  Another advantage of a deliberate “vagueness” or openness about the details is that it encourages creativity.  However, I would argue that this creativity must be guided by strong and clear principles if it is to result in effective and meaningful solutions.

The New York Times Freakonomics blog covered an article in Rolling Stone (if anyone has a link to the original article, let me know?) about how corporate buyers are purchasing farmland to capitalize on food shortages and other potential effects of climate change.  Fascinating, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it.

Finally, Racialicious gives us an insightful discussion of racial considerations in the sustainable food movement.  In my opinion, this is a must read and a must think about.  Also, I’m a huge fan of the gummy bears.

Happy weekend, everyone!

4 Responses to Sustainability Saturday – #3
  1. Aaron
    May 29, 2010 | 2:44 pm

    I can definitely see how the wealthy of the world will capilalize on warming climates and dwindling food supplies, not only for personal gain now, but for future sustenance. When prices get too high for certain food, those with the land to make the food don’t need to pay those prices. Its kind of smart in that aspect. Most people can’t afford to plan ahead like that.

    • Jess
      June 2, 2010 | 11:21 am

      Thanks for the comment!

      And yes, particularly if they have the means to relocate to that general area, although I imagine the land will more likely be used to generate ludicrous amounts of money than for sustenance. It makes great financial sense and the pure capitalist in me understands it, but I really struggle with it from an ethical standpoint.

  2. bystrom
    June 4, 2010 | 5:28 am

    The racialicious article on racism is not particularly accurate, and only reinforces the idea that black people have no role in self determination. Granted that Joel Salatin and Michael Pollon are getting the press. It might be that they did the work to make that happen. Joel Salatin, for instance has been operating his farm for at least 20 years, and has innovated farming and more importantly, market practices. He is a leader, because he earned it.

    On the other hand, in my area which is 87% black, we have many black leaders in the urban ag movement. The author just didn’t dig deep enough to find them.

    • Jess
      June 4, 2010 | 11:14 am

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment!

      My impression was that the author takes issue with the fact that you have to dig deep to find minority leaders in sustainable agriculture, while Salatin and Pollan (Waters, and the rest) are everywhere. I personally haven’t done much research on this issue, but I do think it’s important to figure out why we have to, as you say, dig deep to find them. If it’s just because the Saltins and the Pollans have been in the field longer and are working on higher-profile, more established ventures, that’s one thing. But if it’s a case of disproportionate coverage, I think that’s a problem.

      Who are some of your local leaders and what kind of projects are they working on?

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