When looking back upon earth’s long history, it is difficult to think of how it was able to adapt to the vast of amount of changes it has undergone and its resilience to overcome these changes. The earth has experienced meteorites and ice ages and yet has still evolved successfully from such catastrophic events. Humans have only been around on this planet for a blink of earth’s existence and yet we have managed to vastly degrade it more than any other time in its lifetime. We believe we are the smartest species but we have still managed to create irreversible damage more than other species. Humans are extremely intelligent and are capable of creating some of the greatest technology and perhaps that it is why is so perplexing to think why we cannot thrive while simultaneously live in harmony with earth’s natural processes. In chapter one, Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability, we learn three ways of how to live more sustainably. The first is through solar energy. The sun provides the most amount of natural energy for earth’s systems yet we have not fully adopted it as a method of energy for our own technology. Solar energy should be used for electricity for we know it is a constant source that creates zero emissions. Along with using solar energy, we should study earth’s biodiversity and utilize these techniques. Biodiversity will also provide us with ways to adapt to earth’s ever changing conditions. The third way to adapt sustainability is through chemical cycling. The circulation of chemicals to keep natural processes occurring is necessary for life on earth. Sustainability of natural resources must be recognized as a necessity for life on earth to continue. “Our lives and economies depend on energy from the sun, and on natural resources and natural services (natural capital) provided by the earth” (10). Degrading natural capital faster than we can replenish it will surely lead to our downfall. The only solution to ensuring sustainability is for our governments to enforce laws and regulations. Some companies have brought it upon themselves to act sustainably. In Hawken’s, The Declaration of Sustainability, he begins by discussing how Ben & Jerry’s is just one company to have become a successful company while still remaining environmentally and socially conscious. He states that, “corporations, because they are the dominant institution on the planet, must squarely face the social and environmental problems that afflict humankind” (432). In order for corporations to become more sustainable, Hawken believes that we need to align our systems of commerce productions with the natural world. Corporations were inherently created to exist for us, not the other way around. But citizens have rather become those who are working for the corporations’ favor. Hawken secondly believes that they must project costs to the environment and that companies should be taxed for environmental degradation. They impacts made to the environment should not go unnoticed. In order for corporations to reduce their impact on the environment they can imitate natural systems in their production and thus make certain their products can be reused and not simply discarded. Citizens however have a duty to ensure the corporations follow sustainable procedures. We should boycott products that use unsustainable methods and become biologically literate. Corporations must respect the well being of humans as well as the nonhumans and the earth. A corporation, as Hawken describes, has no purpose is it not working for the betterment of the world. All corporations, by law, should hold social and environmental responsibility.
Question: Would corporations follow a code of sustainability if the government provided tax breaks or subsidies for doing so?