Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2009 13:14:30 -0500
Reply-To: "Nail, John" <jnail**At_Symbol_Here**OKCU.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Nail, John" <jnail**At_Symbol_Here**OKCU.EDU>
Subject: Re: sustainability definition
Comments: To: List Moderator
In-Reply-To: <A122AAFE-3D60-48DB-B847-CBD48599BE30**At_Symbol_Here**>

-webkit-nbsp-mode: space; -webkit-line-break: after-white-space'>

This entire discussion reminds me of t he pornography issue from the 1970’s and the US Supreme Court justice wh o remarked ‘I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it’.

Any definition of sustainability that uses the term ‘zero impact’ is clearly based upon magical thinking a nd a misunderstanding of environmental relationships.

Definitions that involve ‘minimi zing environmental impact’ come closer; the problem is that it isn’t possible to know all of the environmental impacts of an action or inaction. As an example: which has an overall lower environmental impact: shipping nonhazardous waste to a TSDF or dumping the waste down the drain? Driving a ‘clunker’ or a new Pious, err, Prius?

If the better decision was obvious, it would be much easier to select.

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of List Moderator
Sent: Thursday, September 10 , 2009 12:41 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] sustainability definition

From: "Dr Henry" <henryb**At_Symbol_Here**>

Date: September 10, 2009 1:16:27 PM EDT

Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] sustainability definition

The real definition:

Sustainability is a relationship, or balancing act, 
between factors which are constantly changing. 
Like "family values," everyone agrees that sustainability  is a good thing, but no one agrees on what exactly it is, 
or even more significantly, how to achieve it and how 
to know when we have achieved it.

Georgia Tech Research Institute

A practical meaning:

The concept of sustainability refers to our ability to operate 
efficiently and productively while minimizing our negative impact 
on the environment. Seeking the best balance between the demands 
of doing business and the need to protect the environment can be challenging. 

Martin Madaus, PhD, Millipore's CEO 



Dr.Henry A. Boyter Jr.
Director of Research
Institute of Textile Technology
NC State University College< /st1:PlaceType> of Textiles
Box 8301
2401 Research Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695-8301


"Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"


Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.