What is sustainability? with Hank Green

What is sustainability? with Hank Green

Turns out it is kind of a hard question.
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Leyla Acaroglu (A-jar-a-loo) is a sustainability strategist and leading proponent of systemic life cycle based sustainability. She is the founder and director of Eco Innovators, designer, social scientist, strategist and educator she is a creative force who finds innovative and inspiring ways of catalyzing change. Her work spans a range of fields and projects including the development of one of the first online life cycle assessment tools – ‘Greenfly’, creative director of the award winning sustainability education project ‘The Secret Life of Things’, designed the ‘Design Play Cards’ and in 2012 was an Artist in Residence with Autodesk. She lectures at RMIT University where she is also undertaking her PhD in designing change. Leyla was invited to speak at TED2013 in Longbeach, has been named one of Melbourne’s Top 100 People of Influence, was a judge on the ABC TV show The New Inventors, radio presenter, op-ed writer for the New York Times, and has won several awards including two Melbourne Design Awards and a CORE77 design award for her work. In her humorous and compelling talk, Leyla explores why we need to rethink sustainability…

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40 thoughts on “What is sustainability? with Hank Green”

  1. The thing that I struggle with is that the traditional sense of climate change focussed sustainability and social responsibility don't always align. Which is why I guess your definition combines the two. For example, photovoltaic cells seem like a good renewable energy idea, but they require the mining of finite materials, probably by people in deep poverty. Even if you calculate the embodied energy, and see that there is a one year energy payback, that doesn't take into consideration the human cost. Or the platinum in catalytic converters – they make the air cleaner here, but the mining of the platinum does damage elsewhere to people and possibly environmentally too. I was at a discussion about food recently, and often 'good' things are conflated together. Fair trade and low carbon are sort of interchangeably good, but something can be good for people (fair trade produce) but kind of bad for the environment (air freighted). Or visa versa, something better for the environment (highly efficient factory farming that reuses heat produced by livestock) can be devastating ethically.

    I guess we need to seek out those win win situations where it's better for the relatively short term experience of people as well as the long term viability of the planet. One that seems to tick those boxes is veganism. Better for short term living beings (health wise for those eating, quality of life for those involved in the supply chain, quality of life for animals) and long term environment (less pressure on land, less water used, less co2 emitted etc).

    I agree that what we don't want to do is lock in on solving climate change and ignore human suffering. A disturbing example is that actually makes sense from a climate change perspective to have people in poverty because they tend to use less resources (although they may have more children which may negate this).

    To me sustainability means solving climate change & any other threat to natural cycles, and social responsibility means a more wholistic approach, considering human experience. I understand the rationale of altering the definition of sustainability to envelope social responsibility, but that would mean creating a new word to encompass what sustainability used to mean and what it still means to most people: the pragmatic maintenance of ecological systems.

  2. True sustainability shifts will most likely begin within the energy field, by the transition to cleaner forms of energy and the end of the use of fossil fuels. Currently alternative energy sources seem viable, while undisclosed technologies within the military and government will eventually allow for true energy conservation. Free energy, a possibility within the next few decades, will totally replace fossil fuel use and thus alter society greatly– there exists a few major obstacles to disclosure of these hidden technologies; primarily those who wish to maintain the status quo or those uninterested in risking making slight changes and thus jeopardizing their high rank or what have you. The technology to shift society to true sustainability already exists — society simply needs to jump over a few political obstacles to get there. People fear how such technology will alter the economy, particularly those in the oil industry and the politicians who have ties to maintaining the monetary flow in this direction. Currently the oil industry has power and its eradication requires political individuals to break ties to members of the industry.

  3. A great video that includes interview clips plus educational/expansive inserts that helps in a greater understanding. Have you published the whole interview somewhere?

  4. I've also thought about how it's going to take one big thing, like climate change, for Humans to band together and become one people. So many resources will go to development of new technology. We might even start to take the space programs seriously as a whole.

  5. Loved the video! Very balanced review of the topic. I feel like most videos around youtube either fall into religious eco-hippie zeal or complete denial. This just felt informational and thought through. More of this kind of videos! Looking forward to seeing you on CrashCourse

  6. Shoes CAN be recycled into materials for turf fields and playgrounds! There are tons of creative recycling projects so always check before you throw things out.
    Also, going zero waste and/or vegan are great options for individuals to have a massive impact on the world so I don't think you should undermine them as "self sacrificing". Even if you think you could never go zero waste or vegan, you can still support those efforts by reducing meat consumption and being mindful of how much trash you create.

  7. I'd say it's just giving back what you taking and taking back what you threw out. Net 0. Anybody else's attempts? This is hard

  8. Hey, I like your content. It would be great if the sound was cleaner. Sound is half of video.
    I was amazed that Hank Green didn't point this out.

  9. The root cause of all problems, including sustainability, is money. So get rid of money and create money-less economy (MLE). Under MLE we all work free and get everything free. If we do not work then we do not get anything. MLE will give you full democracy and any lifestyle you want. Take a look at the MLE chapter in the free book at theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

    Since under MLE everything is free, nobody will horde anything. For example in a neighborhood of 20 houses, there will probably be lying about 10 cars on the street, for everybody to share, whenever they want. The cars would comeback automatically after it drops you in your office. This will eliminate all scarcity of car building and car fuel resources, making them abundant again. This will happen for all things that we use now, eliminating the sustainability problem.

  10. Why is EVERY SINGLE TED presenter and ignorant idiot asshole pimping some bullshit propaganda

  11. Now, if your driving any kind of vehicle, using any kind of electronic device, heating or air conditioning unit, you, are continuing to destroy this planet, get real, stop now!!!!!

  12. Sustain – hold on, defensible, bear Upside Down Ignoramus World run by Devils. This is the dark ages terminating human existence , nature answers all foes, extinction zombie population is dying out. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

  13. It was not a good style of doing representation, she needs to stop talking sometimes. She should give time for audiences to think what she's talking about. It is quite important for better understanding.

  14. Good talk. Realistically, the only path toward sustainability is if humanity achieves a technological singularity which will make international socialism possible. Otherwise we witness ecological disaster, followed by economic collapse, followed by thermonuclear warfare, followed by our likely extinction. Not necessarily in that order, either.

  15. 7 400 000 000 people in 2016 .. 1 000 000 000 every decade that's it !!!
    Females please think twice before multiplying !!!

  16. great thought…need to learn more..we are all on an intuitive frame work and time to come out of it..

  17. Why didn´t you talk about livestocking? Is surreal that the use of biofuels led to a dramatic decrease on food quantities for humans around the globe.

  18. I loved your discourse! I have received your message and I must say that the world isn´t the same thanks to speechs like this. Thank you.

  19. One of the most ominous signs of mainstream environmental failure is the delusion that inefficient, landscape-wrecking wind turbines are saving the planet. From what, nice scenery? I don't want a world that's painful to look at almost everywhere the wind blows.

  20. Pollution and waste are inexorably linked to logistical problems entailed by globalism. Employing transnational corporations to deliver goods which can be produced locally is extravagantly insane. Grow your own food, harvest your own water/sunlight, buy local and 99% of these issues disappear. The more people satisfy their basic needs of subsistence locally, the less they rely on these massive political and economic systems.

  21. I don't think capitalism will ever be sustainable, and the longer we try to sustain it, the worse its collapse will turn out.

  22. I admire her enthusiasm, but it's a shame the good points being made were being drowned out by unnecessarily waffling and talking about oneself without relating it to the subject. 'Doing more with less' also applies to public speaking 😉

  23. It is always good to see that some younger people are picking up on the "systems thinking" "sustainability is an opportunity" slogans that have been out there for so many years. It's always good to re-tell the stories of the big fails of progress and to quote Einstein. But – really – somebody needs to actually do something. Maybe the real lesson is that it is people "doing something" that gets us into trouble.

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