One According to Herbert Girded (author of Cities People Planet), “sustainability enables all its citizens to meet their own needs and to enhance their well-being, without degrading the natural world or the lives of other people, now or in the future (Page 6- Planet). ” Cities have been at the heart of this question because it is where the human population is at its highest and densest. Just look at the history of human civilizations for example, from Jericho to Rome (Chapter 2), from Beijing to London, and from Hong Kong to New York.
What do they all have in common? They are all highly populated cities and most of them are near the coastal regions where pollution and sea levels are rising due to global warming. So given that about 80 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by the year 2050, sustainability is an extremely huge concern for our present time and the future. Should we practice it? Definitely. Sustainability is ethical for our survival, and most importantly, preserving the natural resources and ecosystem of our planet from the destruction of global warming.
We have to understand the obligations, values, and uniqueness of sustainability because it is self-apparent as humans to practice sustainability and maintaining a livable planet. We will look at the link between humans, cities, and the natural world, why are we talking about sustainability today. Then we will look at the impact of globalization and global warming on our planet and what we can expect to happen in the future if this trend does not stop.
Finally, we will look for possible solutions to our planet’s current crisis and why we should work towards an ethic of sustainability according to Randall Current (Toward An Ethic Of Sustainability). The author Louis Uniform said 50 years ago: “If we would lay a new foundation for urban life, we must understand the historic nature of the city. (Chapter 2)” In order for us to understand the link between humans, cities, and the natural world, it helps to understand the history of how it started.
The link between humans and the natural world was already apparent from the beginning. The history of human settlements starts with hunter-gatherer bands setting up temporary camps or occupying caves in areas where fruits, nuts, fish, and game were plentiful. From here, villages emerged after wheat and barley had been domesticated in the Elevate around 8,500 BC. Thousands of people lived in one space by growing crops on clearly defined areas of land and fishing the fertile waters of rivers, lakes or the sea.
This early settlement exemplified human control of nature through technological innovation, “with hoes, ploughs, and sickles used to farm the land and pottery Jars made to store the harvest. The emergence of towns and cities is also the story of complex forms of social organization, with the appearance of formalized political and virtual hierarchies, administrations, writing and military power (Page 24). ” Subsequently, larger civilizations developed through time. Early cities like Jericho and Octal Yuk emerged.
Dating back to about 7,000 BC, Jericho had the world’s earliest city walls, stone staircase, and its sufficient water. At 7,100 BC, Octal Yuk existed tort about 1 years, Witt a 32 acre site, mud brick houses, and a population of about 6,000. There is also much evidence of long-distance trade, cowries shells from the Mediterranean, manganese copper and turquoise from eastern Anatolia and the Sinai. Despite having the necessary ingredients to have a livable city, these early civilizations cease to exist which meaner that they were not sustainable. Why weren’t they sustainable?
Much more excavation work is needed before we can get a clear answer on why those early cities weren’t sustainable. This transitions us into the impact of modern cities and how it is Jeopardizing the sustainability of our world. The industrial city started to develop in “Britain in the 18th century with the introduction of coking coal made it possible to create an unprecedented range and quantity of new metal objects (Chapter 4). In 1781, James Watt started the revolutionary rotary-motion steam engines which led to the powering of factories, trains, ships, and cars.
This explosion of industrialization resulted in three things. One, faster population growth than ever before with seven billion people currently and two more billion are expected within the next 25 years. Two, global warming due to more greenhouse gas (most notably carbon dioxide) being produced than ever before. And three, globalization and arbitration that is changing the way we live since most of the world will be expected to live in urban areas in the next 25 years.
Furthermore, the world is divided into three different type of countries. The core (rich capitalists), semi-periphery, and periphery countries. Periphery countries grow their raw goods mainly for profit and not to feed their own people which leads to starvation. Then there are the semi-peripheral countries like China, India (both becoming capitalists), South Africa, Russia, and South America which have the factories and cheap labor (invest by core capitalists) necessary to produce raw goods.
This translates into the core countries getting the most food while not enough food or the poor periphery and semi-periphery where population growth is faster than ever. This violates the third principle of sustainability: “seek fair terms of cooperation conducive to sustainability. Actors whose actions affect each other are obligated to cooperate in negotiating fair terms of cooperation in living in a manner that is collectively sustainable. ” In other words, there needs to be a cooperation in negotiating a fair terms of sharing the resources so we can maintain sustainability.
In addition, this global industrialization equals more energy used, this results in ore carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which will yield more severe global warming that will wreak havoc on the earth’s climate change and weather patterns. Ice caps with high labeled are melting faster than before while the ocean (93% of global warming) is absorbing more heat than before. According to Surface Temperature Analysis from NASA, global temperature has warmed at the highest rate at 1. 12 degrees Fahrenheit anomaly in 2010 and is expected to get worse.
The asses was the hottest decade on record but the asses were even hotter according to the NRC. The Auk’s Met Office (National Weather Service) predicted that if we allowed the earth’s temperature to increase to 4 degrees Celsius then the impact will be catastrophic. A 2-foot rise in the global sea level is expected by the year 2100 while Saracens become more acidic as carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere dissolve in the ocean. This acidification will harm the ecosystem (about 60% of ocean life depends on coral ere ) that is sensitive to the pH to the ocean water. The average land temperature will be 5. Degrees above pre-industrial levels, agricultural yields are expected to crease for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production, and half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23% of the Chinese population deprived of the vital dry season glacial melt water source. Furthermore, extreme weather patterns are to be expected such as more hurricane and drought. “Global warming may spawn more super-storms… As emissions of greenhouse gases continue to trap more and more of the sun’s energy has to be dissipated, resulting in stronger storms, more intense precipitation and higher winds.
This vicious cycle of globalization plus population growth plus global warming ultimately equals unsuitability for our future. Ultimately, the Pentagon predicts that global warming will be biggest concern for this century. It is our obligation to maintain sustainability in our world and apply the first principle of sustainability ethics and that is “do not diminish natural capital. ” There are three things to consider when talking about sustainability of cities. They are economy, environment, and equity of society. The Bedding Zero (Bedded) and Lading Echo-
Villages compact urban development are good examples of working towards sustainability. Bedded was created on a Brownfield site, a former sewage works, in the borough of Sutton in South London (Chapter 8). It has many innovative features, including its own combined heat and power system burning wood chips, a pool of electric cars, and photovoltaic panels mounted on the conservatories of every flat. Bedded buildings have very high levels of energy and resource efficiency and greatly reduced running costs. Instead of investing in a central heating system, each flat is insulated by 30 centimeters of rock wool like a giant tea coos.
Bedded was constructed form natural, recycled or reclaimed materials. Due to its innovative design, solar energy and heat generated by occupants is sufficient to maintain comfortable temperatures even during winter. The Echo-villages designs features key components like: renewable energy-solar hot water, a central facility of visual and performing arts and culture. A photovoltaic and wind power. Water supply form household rainwater tanks, storm water retention in ponds, sewerage to be treated and reclaimed water used for irrigation on site, and a centralized recycling collection.
The most difficult issue is finding a different energy source besides coal since our economy has been relying on it for more than a 150 years. Consequently, our biggest energy user is our cars which emits a lot of carbon dioxide. Some suggestions could be investing in new energy sources such as solar power, geothermal, wind, the use of electric/hybrid automobiles, planting more trees, better sewage and recycling systems, etc. Regardless, “societies and their governments should create institutions that are conducive… With respect to sustainability. ” Why should we care about the ecosystem? It is our obligation since we depend on it for food.
It is part of our human values because we and other human beings cannot survive without it, and the consequences of it are already apparent in some parts of the world. We must strive for a more sustainable future to save and preserve what is left of the planet’s ecosystem because our lives depend on it. It is simply our obligation, our values, and the consequences if we do not apply principles of sustainability ethics. “That is, to not diminish natural capital and that opportunities to experience the natural world are important to human well-being but not captured by the idea to natural capita must act now or else things will get worse.