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




Cultural Analysis of Sustainability

            Sustainability is how biological systems endure and remain diverse and productive. It can be recognized by the “three E’s”, which consist of Environment, Economy, and Equality. Sustainability has become identified as a cultural challenge. In order to keep culture around, communities must stay around as well. If people continue to overlook the important factors of the world’s need for environmental care, then communities have the possibility of dying off- leaving you with no culture.

            “Sustainability is, for the moment, a word that gives voice to our present fears and uncertainties about whether we live in a world of scarcity or abundance, just as it augurs and upholds our hopes for thriving in a decidedly uncertain future.” (Yates, 2012). If a majority of the world is uncertain about what the future holds or in this case, what the future may not hold for us, then communities (as individuals and a whole) need to address this issue and re-evaluate the elements that make up each community as well as the attitudes, perspectives, and positions undertaken. Communities have to take initiative in defining their cultural means by incorporating environmental sustainability as a priority. One contribution makes all the difference when one person can become billions of people contributing.

            Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting and imposing a culture, usually of politically powerful nations over less potent societies. The United States takes advantage of the resources foreign lands provide us, which could result in the contribution of imposing a way of culture on that country. The U.S. is using a vast amount of resources worldwide at a very quick rate and this has already become an issue as an environmental crisis.

            I believe it can be argued that Nollywood has been influenced by the main idea of the cultural imperialism theory. I think this because they have been influenced by Western society, therefore creating a film industry that promotes actions and scenes similar to Western views. It may not be as crisp and fluent as Western societies, but the basics are clearly represented in Nigerian films. The sexually explicit displays provided in Nollywood films are certainly not a part of Nigerian culture heritage. This aspect could be looked at as an accumulation of Western culture from television.

            “It can be asserted that films are general instruments of globalized society expanding and sustaining the scope of cultural dominance and imperialism of the western world.” (Bello, 2012). As a result, these instruments provide the means of applying a way of customs within a culture. Researchers have proved that most films appeal to the emotions of its viewers and ultimately affect their worldview. Thus, if Nigerian societies accommodate Western cultures through television, they begin to create similar instances as well as encourage these views. Imperialism can create uneven development and informal forms of social control.

            “The idea of ‘eco-imperialism’ reflects the uncertain location of politics, the ambivalent role of states, and challenges assumptions in the mainstream study of world politics.” (Dyer, 2011). This explains that an imperialistic approach contributes to environmental circumstances within an ecosystem. Dyer continues to expand on the idea of eco-imperialism to still have value within analytical concepts, and should increase the awareness of imperialistic forms of environmental governance – those constraining participation in societal decision making, or that cause social and even ecological harm under the guide of environmental protection. (2012).

             In Nigerian society, teenagers’ behaviors are considerably influenced by Western films and can arguably be thought of as endorsing Western views. Cultural imperialism has many different forms and aspects to the ideas and beliefs that pertain to a particular culture. In order to understand the theory well, it must be evaluated within the component being assessed. Sustainability and imperialism carry out the notions of eco-imperialism and apply those concepts to a community or culture, providing the potential of those perceptions spreading throughout other world views.  





Bello, S.M. (2012). Western films and teenagers in Nigerian society: the questions of cultural promotion. Wilolud Journals, 18-26. doi: 10.5707/cjah.2012.

Blandy, D., & Fenn, J. (2012). Sustainability: Sustaining cities and community cultural  development. Studies in Art Education,53(4), 270-282. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1152077875?accountid=39473

Dyer, H. (2011). Eco-imperialism: Governance, resistance, hierarchy. Journal of International   Relations and Development, 14(2), 186-212. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jird.2011.2

Yates, J. (2012).  “Abundance on trial: the cultural significance of ‘sustainability’.” The Hedgehog       Review 14.2: 8+. Academic OneFile. Retrieved from: http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/ps/i.doaction=interpret&id=GALE%7CA298965873&v=2.1&u=lom_gvalleysu&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1