Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

McGovern, Jim, ‘The very basics of sustainability—an alternative viewpoint’, in Environmental Protection Beyond 2020: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Energy & Environmental Protection - Part 1, Ed. Abdul Ghani Olabi, Sumsun Naher and Marialuisa Acquaviva, 2009, Dublin, Ireland, 12–15 August, pp. 218–223. Copyright Dublin City University, 2009. An extended version of this paper was presented as one of the keynote addresses at the conference.

Abstract

This paper examines the context and meaning of the term ‘sustainability’, the factors that determine and govern climate on Earth, the population of the Earth and its trends and influencers, the requirements for sustaining life and the options that are available to humankind. Some viewpoints are presented that are alternative to ‘conventional alternative’ thinking. The author advocates keeping an open mind on all available options, including the use of oil, gas, coal, tar sands, carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power etc., as well as the technologies that are more widely considered ‘green’ and also argues that humankind needs to face up to the population size that the Earth can sustain and the desired sustainable distribution of wealth.

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