The debate

Nick Ananin visfor at
Tue Nov 4 18:08:47 EST 1997

Is it possible to find a universally acceptable formula for sustainability?
Perhaps it is a bit like seeking the elixir of life - impossible to achieve
but in seeking  we may find some solutions. There are many definitions of
sustainability but they are made up of words which in themselves may be
unclear in their meaning. 

If the following was an example of the formula:
Level of sustainability = [Maximum Production x A] + [Minimum Input of Non
Renewables x B] + [Maximum Diversity x C]

Increasing say timber production at the expense of habitat (diversity, soil
destruction etc.) would give you a lower 'Level' of sustainability. Which
is why I suggested that taxation on non renewables balanced by tax relief
(or grant) for diversity (based on an environmental audit) could be the
main methods of control. In addition products with higher 'Levels' of
sustainability (certification?) would fetch a higher premium.

Poorer countries should then be able to compete on a more equal footing? I
don't believe giving poor countries money is the only solution - providing
them with the tools (technology, education etc.) is a way.

Neither do I believe we should destroy our natural resources as our
children will need all the help they can get. We need to enlighten everyone
but especially the politicians so as to develop decent strategies. Most
politicians seem to view life on a very short timescale but as foresters we
are trained to think loooong term :-)

Please join the debate as the more participants we have with a diverse
background the better.

Some comments so far have raised other factors which could be included in
the formula e.g time, aesthetics
Nick Ananin , Vision Forestry, Aberdeen, Scotland

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