Environmental Sustainability, Communication & Ethics

            Within the topic of environmental sustainability, I believe there is a great factor of controversy that brings up ethical questions.  Sustainable communication groups industries in three staging groups; the “Leading Players”, automotive, forestry, and chemicals; the “Emerging Players” include mining, energy, and technology; while the “Lagging Players” are made up of financial services and media/entertainment. These groupings could create the possibility of ethical issues and determining environmental alternatives.

            “Sustainability is the constant process of obtaining the same or better living conditions, for a group of people and their successors in a given ecosystem.” (Carasso & Matson, 1999).  Consequently, sustainability is viewed as a continuous process. With a constant process, it can leave behind great provision for the next generations to come.

            “In the new 21st century, the term sustainability is often added to emphasize the continuing and long-lasting character of change over time. The study of communication for development and sustainable social change has therefore been through several paradigmatic changes.” (Servaes & Lie, 2013). Since sustainability has become a notion of study, it has brought out topics related to responsibility within environmental issues, social issues, governance, and economic impacts. When discussing sustainability, major aspects that we come across include managing environments, health, and safety issues globally. These aspects are all extremely important matters in decision-making, not only in our present time now, but in the future. One choice now could be helpful currently, but things always have to be examined in a long-term effort. One decision could vastly impact what the future holds.

            How environmental sustainability impacts other areas of interest lies within the simple fact that if we don’t have an environment that is sustainable, we cannot continue to use or create new products or ideas in the future. Eventually, we will run out of the non-renewable resources we use at a rapid rate, and on top of that- create issues for the future generations that will take our places.

            “One of the central problems is that a focus on ethical consumption at a solely personalized level tends to displace responsibility from governments and corporations to individuals while effacing the global political-economic determinants that structure people’s daily lifestyle ‘choices’.” (O’Hara, 1998). These personal analyses of ethics can vary in a number of different perspectives. In order to create a healthier, ethical environment, the ideal would be to change our frame of mind from personal to a collective responsibility of choices. This would include a shift in social change.

            “Above all the information systems, social institutions and economic values must correspond to the environmental values in its ethical dimension.” (Matson & Carasso, 1999). When corporations, businesses and the people surrounding these environments do not follow a standard code of principles, things can get out of hand very quickly.  We need the resources the earth provides us with and when we take them for granted, it becomes more difficult to un-do what’s already been done.  The main concern every business and organization should undergo is whether or not the decision being made will lead to a better, safer, more sustainable environment for those currently living, but most importantly for those future generations to come.

            It is hard to pinpoint exactly how you would resolve ethical issues because it always depends upon the subject being discussed. As someone who is very much interested and concerned in the future life generations of all beings, I think that the world needs a shift in their core values. By this, I mean that everybody’s number one value should be of the earth. With already having an overwhelming amount of wasteful areas and pollutants, it is hard for people to even understand what environmentalists see as a huge problem, an issue at all. I believe that if we educate the public in such a way, it can begin to take a turn in understanding the actual effects that human beings plant on the environment. After all, this is the ground we walk on!












Matson, R. J., & Carasso, M. (1999). Sustainability, energy technologies, and ethics.    Renewable Energy, Vol. 16, Issues 1-4. Retrieved from             http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148198004820#

O’Hara, S.,U. (1998). Economics, ethics and sustainability: Redefining connections.    International Journal of Social Economics, 25(1), 43-62. Retrieved from             http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/274633779?account            id=39473

Servaes, J., & Lie, R. (2013). Sustainable social change and communication. Communication Research Trends, 32(4), 4-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1470403568?accountid=39473

Vaitheeswaran, V. V. (2007). OIL. Foreign Policy, (163), 24-26,28,30. Retrieved from             http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/224026193?account            id=39473