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This post is in response to the same student comments and questions spurred by the assignment outlined in On Sustainability, Summer 2010 (pt. 1 of 2). I found myself writing more and more in reply to this particular issue, so I opted to make a stand-alone post.

I’ve seen a pattern, both in these courses I teach and in our broader culture, that suggests to me that a great many (most?) people seem first to think of environmental issues when they hear the word “sustainability.” Members of the Brundtland Commission perceived this pattern as early as 1982, when they began their work on Our Common Future, so my relatively limited sample size seems more than anecdotal.[1]

One student’s reading response this quarter flipped on the light bulb for me. This student found that her/his definition of sustainability focused on environmental concerns, and, when comparing this definition to the Brundtland Commission’s definition, suggested that this was “mainly because that’s what everyone hears in the media or news.”

Aha!

(more…)

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