Sustainability for the Planet and Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The biggest problem with maintaining sustainable fisheries levels around the world is gaining the cooperation of other counties. Many other countries, such as Japan and some European nations do not comply with sustainable fishery practices, which means they are depleting the fisheries at a more rapid rate than countries who do comply, and they could fish many species into extinction. However, many countries besides the United States understand the importance of creating sustainable fishing practices. Many countries around the globe are working to reduce or control overfishing while still providing popular seafood items to diners around the world.

Overfishing is not the only problem with the world's fisheries that can lead to nonsustainability. Other practices include net and trawling fishing (sometimes called "longline" fishing) that can take up many other species along with the intended catch, such as birds and dolphins. Managing fishing practices to maintain sustainability is also an ongoing effort in sustainable fishing to ensure that the endangerment of other species does not continue ("Office of Sustainable Fisheries"). Thus, overfishing sustainability relates to other marine creatures that might be endangered, which many people might not think of when they think of sustainability in the world's oceans.

Perhaps one of the biggest threats facing the Earth today is global warming, and what it will do to the various natural resources of the world. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting brought attention to the growing concern about global warming and its affect on the planet. The group's findings include "there is more than a 90% probability that human action has contributed towards recent climate change, and contains a series of projections for future impacts, including on temperatures, sea level rise, and extreme weather events" (Gutierrez, Munoz, and Johnson). This is perhaps the biggest threat that sustainability must seek to correct. As the Earth heats up, entire climates and species can be displaced or affected, and the entire face of the Earth could change.

The sustainability movement in natural resources faces many problems, as it does in other areas. Some people simply do not take the affects of pollution and overuse seriously. They believe the natural world will be there "forever," and man cannot destroy it. Of course, the movement must overcome these obstacles and continue to work to create new habitats for endangered species, and manage the species left on the planet. Without sustainability, eventually global warming and many other issues could threaten the entire natural world, and so, the sustainability movement must strive to be taken seriously while they attempt to manage the planet for future generations.

There are many things people can do to help slow the affects of global warming. They can drive less, or drive hybrid cars. They can recycle, and buy products that are packaged with fewer waste components. They can buy locally, supporting local business and reducing transportation costs, and they can buy energy efficient appliances whenever possible. Replacing regular light bulbs with florescent lights is a help, as well. They can plant trees and urge others to plant them as well, and support local botanical and other gardens. If you do not have a local garden, think about creating one. Support environmental and sustainability organizations with donations or gift memberships ("Shopper's Checklist" and Errick). People can become involved in local sustainability movements and educate others on the need for sustainability and resource management, as well.

Education is one of the key elements in the sustainability movement, as much of this paper illustrates. Many people in America and around the world still do not understand sustainability or the part they play in the overall health and well-being of the planet. Many educators believe the sustainability movement must "reinvent" social, economic, and environment ideas in our culture to help create a culture that sustains the resources while still being economically viable (Cortese, a.D., and McDonough, W. 11). Many higher education facilities are including sustainability education in their curriculum, and many experts feel even more of this is necessary to help prepare and instruct the world's future leaders. Projects could also reach out to the community, to parents, and to other educators to get more facilities involved.

Higher education in sustainability is important, but so is reaching even younger students. For example, the Jane Goodall Institute has helped develop a "Roots and Shoots" program to educate Tanzanian youngsters about the dangers of blast fishing with dynamite and mining coral reefs for lime. Both of these practices are common in Tanzania, and the program attempts to educate the young so they can "nurture a new generation of leaders committed to environmental action" ("In Tanzania"). Not only does this help educate a new generation of leaders, it helps spread the word in the community, as well. Children share their ideas and what they have learned with other family members and friends, and this helps spread understanding and awareness. Programs like this are absolutely key for developing a generation of leaders who are more environmentally aware and open to sustainability.

This community could use a local accepted currency, and that is the sustainability project chosen. Creating sustainability while maintaining a thriving local economy is a vital aspect of the sustainability movement. In fact, creating "micro-businesses" in a community is becoming a key ingredient in many local economies. Communities are developing "micro-loan" programs that support small, in-home businesses such as knitting, crafts, consulting, and many other service-oriented businesses (Lyons and Cornwell). Creating a local currency program fits in well with this economic goal in the sustainability movement, because local businesses add to the local economy, but can also manage local resources more effectively (Swann and Witt).

Local accepted currency is a legal means of doing business in a community with currency created and controlled in that community. This is not illegal, in fact, many banks used their own currencies in the early 20th century, but it has not been the accepted practice in the United States for many decades. The treasury department of the government approves of local currencies as long as they can be translated into dollars and accounted for in tax records (Swann and Witt). Thus, creating a local currency can stimulate the local economy and trade, and it can help small businesses as well. For example, a local currency supported loan program helped one woman update her cheese making facility to meet health standards, while it enabled another man to train his draft horses to haul wood, creating new business and saving valuable resources (such as truck transportation) (Swann and Witt).

One of the most creative uses of local currency was the creation of "Deli Dollars." A local restaurant owner wanted to move his restaurant, but could not obtain a traditional bank loan. Instead, he issued this "currency" to local customers who could redeem the dollars when his new store opened. He sold $10 worth of food for $8, redeemable after the new store opened. He gained the capital he needed to move, and helped add to the local economy. Customers purchased the Deli Dollars, but they were also used as gifts, and even turned up in the church's collection plate (Swann and Witt). Thus, a local currency project helps the communing and small business, which is vital in the overall economic sustainability of a region. The business receives the income from the currency at specific times during the year from the supporting bank, and people save money by purchasing currencies at reduced rates.

Creating the program relies on support from local businesses and banks, and thus, it would need to be "pitched" to local businesses and banks. The most difficult aspect of convincing others would be that the community currencies work, and help grow local businesses. Using models on the east coast as an example of successful programs should be an aspect of the pitch. For example, Ithaca, New York created "Ithaca Hours" which are worth $10 (the average hourly wage in Ithaca). The dollars became so popular that local credit union employees took part of their salaries in "Hours," and a newspaper grew to advertise participating businesses and offer low-cost ads for businesses who accepted the Hours. Many other communities have created their own currencies as well, and the models for these endeavors should be used to convince the local community that it can work and it can help the economy (Swann and Witt).

Developing alternative programs such as this is not without difficulties. Some people may feel the currency is being developed to help profit a group or organization, so the organization developing the program should be strictly non-profit. The community should trust the organization and the currency should strive to support small, local businesses that need assistance and cash flow. Many of these types of businesses use local resources and ingredients, and so, the currency helps stimulate the economy while utilizing resources that can be recycled or reproduced sustainably (such as wool or milk from goats and sheep, and other local resources). Thus, small businesses that needed additional support…

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