Chapter 1 - The Origins of Sustainability
In music, sustain is the length of time a sound continues after the input energy stops. The toll of a bell happens with the strikes of the clapper, and the sustain is what we hear as the sound decays. The natural world has its own cycle of sustain and we now know that humankind can have an impact on this cycle of change. Understanding and managing this sustain in a positive way is one of the core concepts of sustainability. Over the ages, many great naturalists have pondered the cycle and being of nature, and the human interface. These observers and explorers have studied the world around us, and our analysis of their thoughts allows reflection about the historical changes in our understanding and attitudes about the relationship of humankind and the natural world. In this Chapter of the course, we examine the works of some of these naturalists as well as recent exposition on human dominated ecosystems and a planet in peril.