Created for GEO 300 Sustainability on Trial: Environmental Justice in Northern Europe, Syracuse University, Professor Becca Farnum

the three pillars of sustainability

People

planet

profit

While there are many definitions of sustainability, the three pillars are a very common description. This is because the pillars allow us to understand sustainability from three distinct viewpoints, encompassing the interests of most stakeholders. In terms of oil and natural gas, much attention is paid to the profit pillar of sustainability, as these resources make up a huge sector of the world economy. As the climate crisis deepens, scientists and activists have noted the tragic effects that extracting and burning oil and natural gas have on the planet. In response, policymakers must work to pull the focus towards planet while mitigating negative effects on profit. Additionally, these policymakers must consider people – it is not ideal to diminish our society's standard of living in order to satisfy the planet and profit pillars. If the three pillars are a pie, ideal sustainable initiatives make the pie bigger instead of redistributing the slices.

instead of this...

sacrificing people and profit

strive for this...

enhancing all three pillars and achieve sustainable growth

scandinavian initiatives

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