Ecological sustainability through advancing technology [Eugene Odum, ISSS 1998 Plenary Session, July 21/98]

[Plenary session, July 21/98, 8:15 a.m.]

Chaired by Howard Odum, U. Georgia

Eugene Odum (Howard's brother!), Callaway Professor of Ecology, U. Georgia at Athens

A lot of current technologies are not sustainable.

A technology paradox: Technological optimists: Photographs of belongings of American family with 2 kids compared to African family with 4 kids Human beings have created a techno-ecosystem. Charts: GNP vs. Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare Cartoon: "You know as well as I do that a man is measured by the amount of pollution he creates."

Many engineered devices are reliable on the short term, but not in the long term; nature is the reverse.

The solution to pollution has been dilution.

Questions

Is society sustainable? Is the use of other human beings sustainable, or can we cooperate? Look to indigenous people of Australia, 40000 years: answer in social systems. Looking at future of mining on other planets? As long as growth is a possibility, then there will be trade-offs versus conservation.

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