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Sustainable Development: A Global Concern Sociology 220 Global Theme III: Global Environmental Change, Question 1 Sept 15, 2001 ABSTRACT With the increase in global warming due, in part, to the burning of fossil fuels as energy in a number of ways, it is easy to see why this has become an increasing problem and cause for discussion throughout the world. Fossil fuels are not a renewable resource, so when they are used up, there will have to be alternative forms of energy available. There are several ways to achieve sustainable development and reduce energy consumption that are outlined in the case study including the use of wind power, which is the most abundant form of clean energy. Along with wind power, there is highlighted several smaller sustainability projects that individuals and communities can do on their own to limit the amount of energy consumed, including recycling. This is a global concern and one that does not need to be taken lightly. If we all work together for one cause, it will greatly increase the chance for success. Sustainable Development has become a very popular phrase in recent years and is 4defined as, "the active management of human resources to provide the greatest benefit today, without compromising the potential benefits to future generations" (Bills, 1994). According to one article, "Sustainable Development, the catch phrase of the conference, was more about sustaining development as a source of power and income for corporations than saving the environment" (Winnipeg: IISD, 1995). Although corporations may look at dollar figures rather than saving the environment, the bottom line is that it is a very environmentally friendly concept. Large corporations have long been realized as a leading cause of air pollution through their affiliations with companies that produce large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Sustainable Development is a way for these same companies to make a better reputation for themselves without losing money in the process. Sustainable Development is considered a primary solution to protecting the environment due to the fact that 3sustainable energy sources "are energy sources which are not expected to be depleted in a timeframe relevant to the human race, and which therefore contribute to the sustainability of all species" (Wikipedia, 2007). One excellent source is wind power. According to an internet article on wind power, there are numerous pros to using this form of energy, including using it 2in, "large scale wind farms for national electrical grids as well as in small individual turbines for providing electricity to rural residences or grid- isolated locations. Wind energy is ample, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and mitigates the greenhouse effect if used to replace fossil-fuel- derived electricity" (Wikipedia, 2007). The only con to providing an alternative form 6of energy such as wind power is the fact that there could be several jobs lost due to the fact that it will not take as many people to manage the systems compared to the polluting systems that are prominently in force today. Large-scale operations are not the only way to control pollution. There are ways for individuals and communities to help control pollution on their own. One way is by recycling. A successful case study on Landfill Gas-to-Electricity Project in Coventry, Vermont by the United Nations division for Sustainable Development comments that, "the Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WEC) successfully guided, implemented, and established a landfill gas-to-electricity generating plant, rated at 4.8 MW, through an integrated process of land use assessment, feasibility analysis, permitting, and regulatory compliance" (United Nations, 2005). It also states that, "This team approach to regional planning and coordination incorporated resourcefulness and a determination to serve the community's and the utility's members best interests in turning landfill methane gas into useful electricity over the next 25 years, while reducing the health risks of methane gas emissions" (United Nations, 2005). Along with wind power, the next best sustainable energy source would come from solar power. Solar cells, solar thermal plants, and solar updraft towers are all good sources in harvesting solar energy. They do not come free of drawbacks, however. In an article regarding forms of sustainable energy, it discusses the challenges with these forms of energy harvesting. Solar cells primary challenges 1are, "low efficiency, energy- intensive manufacture, and power variability due to weather and nightfall" (Wikipedia, 2007). Solar thermal plant challenges include, 1"manufacture and maintenance of large mirror arrays and power variability due to weather and nightfall" (Wikipedia, 2007). Solar updraft towers present the same kinds of challenges with 1"low efficiency, construction and maintenance of the large structures required, and power variability due to weather" (Wikipedia, 2007). Having realized the challenges with solar power, we have to put it in to perspective with the challenges that are faced with the present forms of polluting energy resources. Not only do they have the same types of maintenance and manufacturing problems, but they also have problems facing them from the EPA and also the blame of controlling large amounts of pollution entering the atmosphere every second around the world. We must all work together to combat pollution and come to a compromise on what is really important for the well being of the human race. References Winnipeg: IISD, 1995. 5Youth Sourcebook on Sustainable Development Retrieved from: http://iisd.ca/youth/ysbk084.htm Wikipedia, 2007. Wind Power 2Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_Power Bills, Joshua, 1994. Sustainable Development Retrieved from: http://capita.wustl.edu/ME567_Information/concepts/sustdev.htm Wikipedia, 2007. Sustainable Energy 1Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_energy United Nations, 2005. Landfill Gas-To-Electricity Project in Coventry, Vermont Retrieved from: http://webapps01.un.org/dsd/casestudy/public/displayDetailsAction.do?co de=233