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Supplemental Readings from UMN group

Supplement readings suggested by the Minnesota student group.

Annan, K. 2002. Towards a sustainable future. United Nations Press Release SG/SM/8239 ENV/DEV/637.
The Kofi Anan speech is included in the Reader. It is high priority for a quick overview on the importance of sustainability and the main goals sustainable development should have for the improvement of human life. Specifically, Annan introduces the WEHAB priorities: Water. Energy. Health. Agriculture. Biodiversity and ecosystem management.
JD Marshall and MW Toffel. 2005. Framing the elusive concept of sustainability: a sustainability hierarchy," Environmental Science & Technology, 39(3): 673-682
Marshal and Toffel provide an overview of how sustainability is viewed in various industries/organizations and help limit the scope of sustainability for scientific research. This reading will also be useful in discussions later in the term as it provides a hierarchy for prioritizing sustainability objectives.
Grossman, G.M., Krueger, A.B., 1995. Economic growth and the environment. Q. J. Econ. 110, 353–377.
A discussion of the purpose of sustainability is enriched by this well-known and contested U-shape relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation (Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis or EKC). The relationship between economic growth and degradation appears in more recent literature as well; it is is an excellent way to frame progress and to understand some of the difficulties of global development.
Wilson, E.O. "To What End" in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1998. pp 277 to 298.
This excerpt from Consilience touches broadly on all aspects of sustainable development—from a discussion of what it means to be a human being on this planet (homo sapiens versus homo proteus) to the trends that threaten our ability to sustain and achieve a good life for all members of society. It contains one of the most practical and pithy definitions of sustainable development I have ver come across, reproduced here: "The common aim must be to expand resources and improve the quality of life for as many people as heedless population growth forces upon the Earth, and do it with minimal prosthetic dependence. That, in essence, is the ethic of sustainable development. " Despite its somewhat (very?) Malthusian tone, this is an engaging philosophical, ecological and biological perspective on humanity and its environment. Wilson's cautions about a world built on technological fixes to the growing list of environmental problems is important (what he calls environmental prostheses).