Following from the email from Conor Kretsch, the issue of sustainability 
seems to be firmly divided in Ireland (and most likely in the rest of the 
EU also) into at least two opinions.

On the one hand, environmental and social organisations seem to me to hold 
the view that in order to sustain our environment for our own society and 
for generations to come, we need to make dramatic changes to our collective 
lifestyle, to our culture of excessive consumerism.

On the other hand, what I have seen of government policy at local and 
national level indicates to me that the political powers in Ireland hold 
the view that in order to sustain the present level of resource consumption 
and economic growth, we need to make sure that environmental and social 
pressures are carefully managed to satisfy public and legislative demand 
without compromising the economic needs of the present.

As environmental scientists, we are faced not with a purely 
physical/natural environment in which changes can be made to encourage a 
favourable outcome, but also with a political/financial environment in 
which the status quo is valued highly by those whose interests it serves, 
by whom change is resisted forcefully. Do we have a role to play as 
mediators between these two poles of opinion? More specifically, in 
investigating the numerous existing solutions to excessive consumerism and 
resource consumption and bringing them to the political and public forum in 
a language acceptable to the public mind? In other words, how can we 
engender the idea of genuine long-term sustainability in the public and 
political mind through the medium of environmental science?


Feidhlim Harty

Féidhlim Harty Wetland Systems,
Gaggin, Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland.
ph/fax.: 023-52983 email: [log in to unmask]

FH Wetland Systems - Designing and Planting
Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment.

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