If humanity is to survive indefinitely into the future at an acceptable quality of life, it must adopt practices that will assure its social, economic and environmental sustainability. The threats to our long-term survival which are multiple and systems-based necessitate that the study of sustainability involve every discipline and operational unit on campus. There is already a group from diverse disciplines that has been working to develop curricula for a Sustainability Minor and a Sustainability Major. This group provides a foundation on which to build the nexus of committed members of the Ball State community.
Although sustainability is often viewed within a “triple-bottom-line” framework: environment, society, and economy (or alternatively People, Planet, and Profit), it is also useful to frame the content by constraining factors: values; ethics; policy; atmosphere; energy; water; land; agriculture; natural biological systems; environmental systems; materials and resources; health; poverty; nutrition; community; business and economies.
Sustainability knowledge content also must be viewed from a systems perspective. The essential viewpoint is that elements of the economy, environment, and society are all related; within and across these subsystems. These elements are mutually dependent and mutually affect each other. Hence, for long-term human survival, systems integrity must be preserved, enhanced and/or restored.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe" (John Muir, 1869). ( http://www.sierraclub.org/john_Muir_exhibit/frameindex.html?http://www.sierraclub.org/john_Muir_exhibit/writings/misquotes.html . )
It is because of the expansive constraints on human survival and their systemic nature that input from a broad constituency in the Ball State Community is necessary. The Academy for Sustainability meets that challenge.
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