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Sustainability; Where the Paths of Morality and Economics Intersect

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At this point in my advocacy blog you are probably wondering where is he going with this? Who is his audience? What in the world do holistically managed cattle herds, corporate sustainability reports and campus sustainability organizations have to do with advocating for sustainability? The answer to that question is holistic management methods, sustainability reporting and campus sustainability events have everything to do with advocating for sustainability. How? One of my initial goals I set for this blog was to help my audience more fully understand the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability and spark their interest in this emerging field.

One of the inspirations for my advocacy blog is actually another blog rooted in business and sustainability. The author of the blog is Marc Gunther, a well-known environmental journalist. Gunther’s blog is all over the spectrum of sustainability (similar in style to EqualGenerations!) with posts on topics such as environmental engineering, human rights, corporate social responsibility, politics, religion, among others. Here is a link to his blog: http://www.marcgunther.com/

One of the first things I learned was blogs do not write themselves! But I am a college student and I fully believe that procrastination is a contractible disease. The next thing I learned is that the goal I set for my blog was very ambitious and the five posts I have composed for EqualGenerations really only begin to scratch the surface of all that is sustainable. I would have to say that my three strongest blog posts are the one that encourages people to come to the LIVE GREEN! VEISHEA Village to learn about sustainability, the post explaining what the term sustainability means to me and probably this one because this post has allowed me to shed light on how all of my posts are interconnected and bring my argument of advocating for sustainability awareness full-circle. The post encouraging people to come to VEISHEA Village was definitely a form of shameless self-advertising, but it also created an argument that The Green Umbrella, a student organization dedicated to increasing awareness for sustainability, continues to have a positive impact on both the Iowa State Campus and Ames community. The post that analyzed what sustainability means to me was fun to write because I am extremely passionate about this topic and I love getting on my soapbox and attempting to convince people why they should embrace sustainability; if not for the benefits it poses for future generations and the planet, but also the fact that employers are more and more looking for people who understand and specialize in sustainability related fields.

The big picture to my advocacy argument does not address a select or niche audience and I believe this is because of the morality behind the concept of sustainability; conserving resources for the betterment of future generations and framing the concept as a moral obligation to generations that have yet to be created. What makes this idea controversial is a theory in economics; people place greater value on resources available to them in the present than they do on resources available in the future. This is where the economics behind sustainability and morality begin to intertwine. No person can logically argue against the benefits of sustainability, but what they can argue is who is going to pay the price for sustainability. The concept of willingness to pay is another economic ideology intimately connected to sustainability. Sustainability is often criticized for providing intangible benefits in the present, but if humanity would just take a step back to see the “big picture”, they would realize just how beneficial this concept can become.


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