EPA Science Inventory

Is Sustainability Achievable? Exploring the Limits of Sustainability with Model Systems

Citation:

Shastri, Y., U. Diwekar, H. CABEZAS, AND J. M. WILLIAMSON. Is Sustainability Achievable? Exploring the Limits of Sustainability with Model Systems. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Indianapolis, IN, 42(17):6710-6716, (2008).

Description:

Successful implementation of sustainability ideas in ecosystem management requires a basic understanding of the often nonlinear and non-intuitive relationships amongst different dimensions of sustainability, particularly the systemwide implications of human actions. This basic understanding further includes a sense of the time scale of possible future events and the limits of what is and is not likely to be possible. With this understanding, systematic approaches can then be used to develop policy guidelines for the system. This article presents an illustration of these ideas by analyzing an integrated ecological-economicsocial model, which comprises various ecological (natural) and domesticated compartments representing spe<;ies along with a macro-economic price setting1 model. The stable and qualitatively realistic model is used to analyze different relevant scenarios. Apart from highlighting the complex relationships within the system, it identifies potentially unsustainable future developments such as increased human per capita consumption rates. Dynamic optimization is then used to develop time-dependent policy guidelines for the unsustainable scenarios using objective functions that aim to minimize fluctuations in system information. The results identify effective policy parameters and highlight the trade-off between natural and domesticated compartments while managing such integrated systems. The results should qualitatively guide further investigations in the area of system level studies and policy development.

Purpose/Objective:

To inform the public

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 09/01/2008
Completion Date: 09/01/2008
Record Last Revised: 10/08/2009
Record Created: 03/17/2008
Record Released: 03/17/2008
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 189452

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTS BRANCH