Discuss the validity of the following statement:  "The task of living a sustainable lifestyle is the responsibility of the individual, not governments or corporations."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The statement is interesting in a couple of ways.  On one hand, I believe that the individual does play a role in embracing a sustainable lifestyle.  The implication here is that the individual must embrace a "shallow" ethic or conservation methodology.  In  this light, this make sense, to a great extent.  The individual must change ways that consume limited resources.  Embracing the idea of environmental friendly appliances, or minimizing the excessive use of elements that are challenged on the level of consumption are all aspects of this.  To such an extent, I believe that the individual does have a role in participating in a sustainable lifestyle.  Having said this, I think that those who believe in a "deep ecology" frame of reference would suggest that governments and corporations do have an equal, if not greater, obligation to participate in the ways of developing a sustainable lifestyle.  Those who believe in this logic are going to suggest that the problem of ecological awareness and environmental protection can only dissipate if there are efforts on both levels.  Individuals can and must do their part, but those who advocate an awareness of "deep ecology" are going to suggest that governments have to ensure that concerns of environmental matters are forefront in their policies and that corporations seek to find different and alternative means as opposed to draining limited resources and adding to a problem.  It is in this light where I think that the initial statement might come under some level of scrutiny.


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