Filed under: J840 Week 5 | Tags: Biocapacity, Environmental Stewardship, Homeostasis, Leave No Trace, Materials Economy, Rocky Mountain National Park, sustainability
Experiences form our belief system and allow us to define the world we inhabit; my experiences as a former research chemist and current student help me define sustainability through the portal of a scientific term called homeostasis.
Maintenance of a constant or the pursuit of balance is homeostasis. Chemical reactions, simple and complex life, AND the earth seek balance. Man’s actions are negating earth’s ability to naturally achieve balance. Balance, or homeostasis, is the goal for earth on the ecological tightrope; a coexistence with the daily push and pull between conservation and natural resource utilization.
My definition of sustainability: Finding balance in mans utilization of earth’s resources by practicing environmental stewardship through reduction of our ecological footprint, and restoration of the Earth’s natural ability to maintain homeostasis.
Frequent reminders exist on how far society wanders from this definition. An example can be seen in my recent return camping trip last weekend to Rocky Mountain National Park.
The park spoke once again to nature’s grandeur and delightful simplicity. Upon arrival to the park something was noticeably missing – the weathered, worn, and affable face of Betsy, the Park Ranger for the campsite, was gone.
Wood chopping, tents out of place, coolers and food left out, fires burning unattended, scattered trash, and improper water disposal fill the void left by Betsy’s absence. Nonexistent stewardship of the campsite and ecological trampling by the visitors handicapped nature’s homeostasis. The park policy of “Leave No Trace” was ignored.
My camping trip is not an incident in isolation. Destruction of the Earth’s natural resources is occurring at an excruciating pace on the world stage. Indefinite sustainment of a linear materials economy can’t continue; current levels of consumption in the United States would take three to five earths to sustain if the rest of the world were consuming the same amount. We are outstripping Earth’s biocapacity by 39 percent and leaving a footprint which knocks Earth off her ecological tightrope.
Is achieving balance realistic in our lifetime?
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