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Sustainability and Sustainable Development

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Good morning. Welcome to the third lecture on the online course on SustainableArchitecture. And I am your course instructor Dr. Avlokita Agrawal, Assistant Professorat Department of Architecture and Planning IIT, Roorkee. So, continuing from where weleft in lecture 2, we started defining what sustainable development or sustainabilitycomprises of. So, we started with a very generic understanding of what sustainabilitywould encompass.So, it if essentially has this triple bottom line which is the most commonly understooddefinition of sustainability or sustainable development. I am using sustainability andsustainable development as inter changing terminologies; however, they are not. We willcome to that a little later. For now, understanding the definition of what comprises orwhat comprises of sustainability is here.(Refer Slide Time: 01:35)So, these are these three spheres, where social, environment and economic form thetriple bottom line, and there have been various attempts across the globe to understand sustainability the process of it the definitions. So, let us see couple of these definitionsand then try to come back at sustainability and the concept of it.(Refer Slide Time: 02:03)So, here are some of the most accepted widely accepted definitions of sustainability. Asper Thomas Jefferson sustainability council sustainability may be described as ourresponsibility to proceed in a way that will sustain life that will allow our children,grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live comfortably in a friendly, clean, andhealthy world.Now, let us look at the keywords in each of this definition. First is we have to proceed ina way that will sustain life. So, we have to sustain the life in a way that is comfortable,friendly, clean, and healthy which implies that the environment is good for our futuregenerations they are comfortable. So, they have enough resources to sustain themselvesflourish, and they have a friendly environment which is socially and culturally thriving.So, this is what we are meaning when we are looking at this definition. (Refer Slide Time: 03:09)Let us look at another definition. So, if you look at the Webster’s InternationalDictionary, the word sustain literally means to cause or to continue as an existence or acertain state, or in force or intensity, to keep up especially without interruptiondiminution, flagging etcetera or it is to prolong. So, in whatever state we are today wherein any point of time, sustain implies do continue in the same state.Now, if we look at some time back say,two centuries back at the beginning of industrial revolution was the environment theoverall environment which is which includes the socio-cultural context as well. Was itthe same at that time as it is now? No, of course it has changed it has evolved emerged,but will we be able to provide the same environment as we have today to our children toour future generations probably not or maybe yes. So, sustain is essentially to continue inthe same state.
(Refer Slide Time: 04:24)Another definition says improving the quality of human life while living within thecarrying capacity of supporting eco-systems. It is in essence the way of achievingsustainability. So, if we continue to live within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems, we will be able to sustain ourselves. So, it is the process we have to consumeonly what is available to us say per capita basis from the surrounding eco-system. One ofthe most commonly accepted definition of sustainable development came from the reportour common future and it says sustainable development is the development that meetsthe needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meettheir own needs.So, it says we are not compromising our own needs of present, but we are also notcompromising on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. So, as we sawyesterday in the previous lecture, the needs can be controlled we have to frame our needsin such a manner that we are able to fulfill them today and tomorrow as well for ourfuture generations. (Refer Slide Time: 05:51)If we look at the world business council on sustainable development and how it definesdevelopment, we see that gradually the focus on economic prosperity, social equity,social justice, finds a little more emphasis mentioned as compared to the environmentaldefinition, and that is what gets reflected through the definition if you read. Sustainabledevelopment involves the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmentalquality and social equity. And it says that companies should aim to perform not against asingle, financial bottom line which majority of the profit-making companies are focusedwith, but against the triple bottom line which is of environment, social and economy.So, some of the concept’s extraordinary concepts in those times for example,emancipating slavery, or enfranchising women are now in today's times they are takenfor granted; at one point of time they were like big issues. So, similarly the new conceptof responsible consumerism, environmental justice, intra and inter-generational equity,they are now being discussed as big issues; however, in the time to come they willchangeNow, once we have looked at couple of these definitions, we see that some of the points,issues they keep coming repeatedly in all of these definitions while the focus may vary alittle bit. So, there are different definitions or understandings of sustainability dependingupon the point of view, the perspective of who is defining the definition of sustainability.So, there is a need to develop scientific models of how to understand sustainability. They could be different types of models, they could be different ways of understandingsustainability, but the essential characteristics of any scientific model has to be seenwhile defining or coming up with a new model of sustainability. We will see couple ofthese scientific models of defining sustainability in the slides ahead.(Refer Slide Time: 08:25)But the essential characteristics of scientific models must stay. The first and foremost isit has to be a simplified representation of the reality; it has to be very simply conveyed.
We cannot make a model which is very complex difficult to understand; it should betestable we should be able to test the model on different situations, different conditions.It has to itself become the object of study which we will see how it gradually becomes. Itis usually a conceptual model which we apply to a given circumstance given context andtest it. And it allows the possibility of measurement and circulation.So, it has to be tangible we have to be able to measure it on various parameters. It allowsthe explanation of the reality. So, we have to be able to relate associate the reality andexpress it through this model. If it is not doing that, then it is a failed model. And it hasto represent the systems and is isomorphic to the system that they represent. So, it has tobe a direct representation of the reality.
(Refer Slide Time: 10:15)Now, let us look at some of the models of sustainability. Now, all these different modelswhich are defined to asses to measure, quantify, define, understand sustainability can beclubbed under a broad study which can be which is termed as sustainometrics. Now,sustainometrics is actually a way to describe the interconnectedness of five domains. Sofar, we have been talking about three domains environment, society, the social domainand economy. However, if you see here we are talking about these five domains whereenvironmental says socio-cultural dimension is there, an economic dimension is there.So, the triple bottom line is anyways there, but with given penetration of technology inour life almost all spheres of life, technology also becomes an added domain, and policywhich includes politics as well. So, often this public policy and politics was clubbedwithin the domain of socio culture, and gradually it has come out as an independentdomain which defines the sustainability, different models of sustainability.Depending upon who is defining sustainability what is the definition of it, the focus oneach of these five domains may vary slightly, but they are most likely to be presentwhenever we are defining sustainability. So, what is the criteria for modelingsustainability? Now, sustainability is a very, very vast subject simply, because itencompasses almost everything, we are talking about environment here, we are talkingabout social-cultural domain here, we are talking about economics here, we are also talking about technology and politics and policies. So, it is a very vast domain; it is aninterdisciplinary study at any given point of time.(Refer Slide Time: 12:39)So, if we are talking about any system from just one perspective, one point of view, it isnot understanding sustainability. So, the first essential criteria for modeling sustainabilityis that it has to be interdisciplinary in its approach, it has to talk about all the disciplinesall the domains. Second is, it has to manage the uncertainty. Now, uncertainty comes inbecause it is so vast there are so many domains to be touched upon discussed about thatthere are greater chances of uncertainty creeping in. Now, any model of sustainabilitywhich we are developing, defining has to manage that uncertainty in very clear terms.Third is it has to be a long range or intergenerational point of view. It has to bring intothe picture an intergenerational point of view. Now, anything the moment we talk aboutsustainability we are talking about a system to sustain for long to continue as we havejust seen in the definition. So, we are not talking in a given point of time, but we aretalking about a long duration of time and that is why a long range or inter-generationalpoint of view is essential to define or modern sustainability.Fourth is global local perspective when we were discussing in lecture-2 that graduallyhow we are looking at buildings and how we are constructing them is becoming moreand more global while losing the total focus on our local conditions that is where theunsustainability creeps in or it becomes the other way around where we are only focusing about the local perspective, then also it becomes unsustainable. So, it has tohave a balanced approach where both global and local perspectives are brought togetherinto understanding.And the last is stakeholder’s participation. We cannot define sustainability or we cannotdevelop a model of sustainability from third person’s perspective, it has to incorporatethe perspective and participation of the stakeholders who own that system which is beingtested for its sustainability, so, with these defining of criteria for modeling sustainability.(Refer Slide Time: 14:44)Let us look at the different types of models of sustainability which are available as ondate. So, people have tried to define sustainability through different types of models oneis pictorial visualization model. Next is quantitative model which talks about numbersand quantifying measuring the different parameters. Physical models, which arephysically available which are tangible which can be seen, constructed. Conceptualmodels which are available only as a concept, and standardizing model where wedevelop standards and talk about sustainability. Let us look at each of this model andbriefly discuss about what we understand by sustainability through these different typesof models. (Refer Slide Time: 15:19)Now, these models this pictorial model here, this we have seen which was the first to thepresentation of sustainability through the Venn diagram. Now, gradually people startedarguing that what is the use of economy if the environment is not there. So, there wasone very noted ecologist environmentalist Herman Dally, and he discussed what is theuse of a saw mill if the forest is gone.So, what is the use of a sawmill which is used for generating economy if the environmentis not there if the forest is not there and that is true for all the cases. So, the definition ofsustainability through the pictorial means was redefined where environment wouldbecome the main focus and the larger point of discussion while society and economy arewithin the environmental domain. So, the definition of sustainability it says changedevolved where a larger emphasis was to be placed on environment.Another definition where sustainability was supported by these three pillars which wehave seen so far all these three domains was also developed. Now, all these pictorialmodels essentially discuss about a very broad understanding of sustainability. Now, fromthese models we cannot really quantify or understand a given context very clearly, butwe can make a form a general understanding. (Refer Slide Time: 16:59)Now, these models have also been changing. For example, initially we were talkingabout this theoretical model where we considered all these three spheres to be equal insize, currently there is a larger focus on economy. So, the environment, to the focus onenvironment has been decreasing it has been greatly reduced, and the social sphere iswhere it was. However, the kind of change that is required to sustain the world at large isthat the environmental sphere grows bigger, and the other two spheres if not diminishthey remain the same focus. So, this is the kind of understanding we get through pictorialmodels. Now, how will this be done, how will the sphere we enlarge, what do we meanby a large in the environmental sphere, all those things may not be understood to apictorial model. (Refer Slide Time: 18:14)Next we can come to quantitative models. Now, quantitative model is a type of modelwhich quantifies the different parameters which lead or which impact sustainability.There are different types of models within quantitative, macro econometric model,computable general equilibrium model, optimization model, system dynamics model,probabilistic models and multi-agent simulation models.(Refer Slide Time: 18:26)We can quickly look at these, but the basic qualities of quantitative models remain thesame. First is, they are often dominated by the discipline from where they have originated. So, if they have originated from the economic discipline, we would alwaysfind larger focus of the economic discipline and like that. Second is, they find ways ofembracing uncertainty quite well, and to a certain degree they also deal with the-longrange perspective because they put the numbers into it with the help of these differentparameters.However, the drawback is that they are poorly equipped to accommodate a holisticperspective, because it is not possible to take into account all the parameters which affectsustainability of aour system of a modern. And there poorly equipped to address the localglobal perspective often and they do not often acknowledge the need for stakeholdersparticipation because these parameters are so quantitatively dealt that we are onlylooking at the numbers, but we are not looking at how stakeholders are responding to it.(Refer Slide Time: 19:46)Some of the examples are say one of the macro econometric model actually talks aboutthe operation of the economy of a country or a region by taking into account thesedifferent parameters, these different themes incorporating them. However, the focus onthese themes may vary little bit. (Refer Slide Time: 20:07)The next is ecology macro-econometric model. It is the subset of macro-econometricmodel where our larger focus is on economy of a country, or a region, or a place, but weare talking about the genetic environmental impacts. We are talking about the energyuse, resource use, water emissions and all of these in terms of economy. So, we aretalking about their impacts through a feedback on economy. So, if place if a countryimplements say a particular policy or a particular program or system is being run, how isit affecting the economy will be tested and that is what this ecological macroeconometric model does.(Refer Slide Time: 21:00)
Next is computable general equilibrium model, which are used to assess the impact ofpolicy interference of policy relevant economics, environmental and social indicatorsinto one model.(Refer Slide Time: 21:21)For example, we have a policy say Government of India comes up with a policy thatevery village gets connectivity of pucca[FL] roads, permanent roads. Now, this is onepolicy. Now, what is going to be the impact of that policy will be understood throughthis computable general equilibrium model. Now, here we may we will be talking aboutthe environmental impact of it how much material will be required; there will be a socialimpact of it that how when people are connected through roads how will they bebenefited, they will have better access to medical facilities, they will have better accessto education facilities and like that, so that is a social impact of the same policy.And there will also be an economic impact, so the farmers in the villages will be able tosell their produce for a better price when they will take their produce to the cities. So, apolicy will be taken up and its impact will be calculated through these differentparameters, and finally the conclusions of and recommendations for the policy will bemade. (Refer Slide Time: 22:32)The next is optimization model or system dynamics model. Now, here it largely relies onidentification of indicators. Now, suppose if the indicators have not been properlyidentified, the system dynamics model may fail, because it is not even considering aparticular indicator.
(Refer Slide Time: 23:12)However, if the indicator has been aptly identified/ clearly identified , Next we can cometo quantitative models now quantitative model is a type of model which quantifies the different parameters which lead or which impact sustainability. then based upon the dataanalysis data acquisition and data analysis, a or robust model can be developed whichwill explain the interdependencies all a lot of different parameters and it will explain itcan explain sustainability to a large extent. These were all different types of quantitativemodels.(Refer Slide Time: 23:19)The next type of model is a physical model. Now, physical model as I said is a tangiblemodel a real model which we can see. For example, modern of a net zero building. Now,there we will be constructing a net zero building, a model of it a physical model of it andthen carrying out tests, gathering data based upon that physical model. It is very specificand it is largely local. So, there are certain drawbacks, because it is yes reduces theuncertainty to a large extent, a large extent; however, the time span is quite restricted,because we are talking in a moment of time. The model was constructed today and thetest who are carried out today. So, the results are also valid for this given span of time.They may not be long ranging.Another, they yes, allow for participatory approach and interdisciplinary perspectives,but that only a fragmented part of the global sustainability system simply because theyare so predominantly local and confined within the time and space. They are very rarelyused to serve the main purpose of modeling for sustainability, they largely cater to the requirement of ruling out the uncertainties for a very specific issue, specific problem, sayfor example, I said net zero buildings.(Refer Slide Time: 25:03)The next type of model is a conceptual model. Now, conceptual model is a very broadmodel, and it is largely linked to very grave serious issues with which concerned theentire world, globe, humanity at large, and they talk about the long-term and intergenerational perspective they are not locally focused, we are talking about global issuesglobal perspectives. They are usually ideologically laden, they are heavy on ideologypeople talk about ideologies through these conceptual models, and it largely is driven byheavy political agenda. So, politics is driven through these conceptual models.Let us look at one of the examples. For example, the entire conceptual model of ozonedepletion. So, at that point of time when the depletion of ozone was brought to theforefront by scientists, at that time enough scientific evidence was not available to backthe fact or to back the point of discussion which was that ozone depletion is happening ata very fast phase. Scientists did not you would not know for sure with conformity thatwhat is causing the ozone depletion, there were flaws in the kind of research which haswhich had happened, because the research was anyways going on the scientists whoweare not sure.However, the conceptual model of what is causing the ozone depletion was publicizedand advertised through politics through political agenda so heavily. Now, it actually led to one of the most successful global treaties which was Montreal Protocol. In the lateryears yes of course, the scientific evidence also pointed to the same fact that yes certaincompounds certain elements were causing the ozone depletion to a larger extent, but atthe time when it was proposed as a conceptual model, there was no very strong scientificbacking.(Refer Slide Time: 27:27)So, it actually led to a very successful 3D Montreal Protocol which is what usuallyhappens with the conceptual models because they are so heavy on political agenda. It hasbeen good for the world at large. (Refer Slide Time: 27:43)Another conceptual model that we would see was this for example, this climate changereport 2014. Now, it talked about the observed changes and the causes, it observed thechanges in the climate system and the causes of the climate change. So, if you rememberthere was a lot of uproar on the rate of how glaciers are melting, how it was projected,because there is no scientific backing to it at, what pace will the glaciers melt, at whatrate and in how much time will all the glaciers be melted and how it would lead to thesea level rise yet, it brought to the fore the conceptual model that climate change ishappening.These are the changes which are happening though the pace, the rate at which thesechanges are occurring is not scientifically proven yet. It is good enough to sensitizepeople to create an overall large awareness and drive a political agenda where majorityof the world comes together to discuss about climate change and to take to act upon it.So, that is what laminate conceptual models do. (Refer Slide Time: 29:06)The last is standardizing models. Now, these standardizing models develop a newbenchmark, a standard which in reality does not exist. It is a combination of variousdifferent parameters put together to lead to a quantity, a standard which is proposed andit is counted as a benchmark. For example, genuine savings indicator which wasproposed in 1997, or Gross national happiness which would was which was proposed in2008. Now, these are not really tangible though the parameters which lead to thesequantities are standards are tangible. Another one which we often see here is ecologicalfootprint. Ecological footprint is a very popularly commonly understood standard thoughit in reality does not exist.
(Refer Slide Time: 30:07)Let us look at what ecological footprint is. So, ecological footprint actually measures theamount of resources which we consume, it could be per capita basis, it could be per stateor nation, or for the entire world. How much of these resources are consumed per capitais what our ecological footprint is, and how much off ecosystem land, water, trees,plants, agricultural area from land is required to sustain the kind of lifestyle which isbeing discussed for rich ecological footprint is calculated.(Refer Slide Time: 30:51) So, there our websites which are available, you would see a link of these websites andyou can actually go and visit these websites, where the ecological footprint of the entireworld different nations has been calculated. Now, the ones that we actually see in redshave a larger ecological footprint than the amount of resources which are containedwithin the boundaries of these countries. A darker of red implies that the resourceconsumption, the rate of resource consumption is much higher than the amount ofresources which are available within their boundaries. So, we can see that India ourcountry is quite intensely using the resources we will see whether it is per capitaconsumption of resources or it is the consumption of resources for a nation at large.
(Refer Slide Time: 31:48)So, this is looking at the ecological footprint off on the basis of countries population. Thedarker of the red implies there is a higher concentration of population and that is why theecological footprint is greater. Countries which are sparse where population is less, eventhough their per capita ecological footprint maybe higher, overall for the country theywill still have a smaller ecological footprint. (Refer Slide Time: 32:25)Let us look at this resource consumption chart. Now, here we see that given the kind oflifestyle people in our country follow, and the way they consume resources, how manycountries of the same size are required to meet the demand of its citizen. So, this isresource consumption. If you look at the world here the rate at which the globalpopulation, the world is consuming resources, we would need 1.6 times the earth tofulfill our demands fulfill our needs for the resources.We can also look at this very interesting piece of information where if the world’spopulation lived like the population in these countries, the way people are living in thesecountries, how many earth would we need like that. So, it is a direct representation ofhow sustainably people in different countries are living, the lifestyle which we say. So, ifpeople live like the way Australians do, we would probably require 5.4 earths to fulfillour needs.However if the world lived like the way Indians live, even today, we would need onlypoint seven of the earth that is if the entire world starts living like the Indians do.However, there are a lot of associated facts and issues which need to be discussed. Wemust very clearly know when I am saying that if the way Indian population lives, we arealso talking about crores of people who are living below the poverty line, where they donot have access to the basic amenities of life that is why probably per capita resourceconsumption is quite low for a country like us. And as we go on with improving the quality of life this resource consumption is bound toincrease. We will not be able to sustain ourselves and also given that countries like Indiaand China have very large concentration of population, a per capita increase in resourceconsumption multiplies with the population and suddenly makes a bigger number. So,this is a very interesting fact to see. And while I was saying that if we continue to live theway we are living the world at large, we need 1.6 to fulfill our demands.(Refer Slide Time: 35:32)So, looking at that, there is a concept of earth overshoot day where the resources whichare available to us for an year have been already consumed by a particular date.
(Refer Slide Time: 35:55)So, this has been coming down. If you look at the historical data we would see that ataround 1970s, we were almost consuming the amount of resources which was availablefor an year in an year only. However, when we are coming to 2019, we are exhaustingthe resources by July 29th. So, we are short off this much period. Now, if you total it up,so every year we are reducing it by say 5 months, we are reducing it by 5 months in 1year and like that, we have very little time left on earth to survive. This is the reason why all of us must act now, and especially we are talking about country like ours India which is a develop