The foundation of management education is sustainability. The land becomes the way we manage it. Earth Day 2021 is a day to stop, reflect and assess what we need to do to protect and improve the health of the Earth and each other. Earth Day 2021 gives us a moment to recognize that our past lifestyles can be suddenly stopped and changed forever.
One way to see, to frame the Covid-19 pandemic is to recognize that our past lifestyles, travel, consumption and management of our lives and our natural resources are unsustainable. Our climate is warmer and our biodiversity is in decline. Climate change is a fact backed up by science. NASA describes several levels of degradation in the health of the Earth as follows: increasing global temperature, warming ocean, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreasing snow cover, rising sea level , decrease in arctic sea ice, increase in extreme events and ocean acidification. The causes of climate change are complex, but the common element in the global warming trend since the mid-1920secentury, it is human activities. (NASA, 2021)
The good news is that over the past twelve months, work against the pandemic has shown us how we can create global change using science, real-time data and a global community working towards a common goal of improvement. personal health. This same approach is needed to address the environmental health of our world. Recent research on changes in environmental health during the Covid-19 lockdown, presented at the Goddard Space Flight Center, found that “the environment is changing rapidly and the timing of these changes suggests that the pandemic may be a reason . Deforestation rates are changing in some places, air pollution is decreasing, water quality is improving and snow has become more reflective in some areas since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. (Bates, 2020, para. 1)
The pandemic gives us new data and a new opportunity to use our current experiences to launch new approaches and behaviors that will help improve the environmental health of our world. The figure below provides a visualization of the sustainability framework. Originally presented in 2006, the diagram presents the intersection of social, economic and environmental concerns (the three pillars) as sustainability. These concerns reflect the pillars used in WPI’s sustainability ecosystem.