David Orr 's Essay : Two Meanings Of Sustainability

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It is apparent that in David Orr’s essay, “Two Meanings of Sustainability,” his views of technological sustainability and ecological sustainability fall beneath two distinct archetypes, as defined by Robert Vos in “Defining sustainability: A conceptual orientation”. Textual evidence outlining Orr’s views and beliefs in regard to each type of sustainability can be found in both the assigned reading and additional works written by him. This evidence allows for a direct connection to be made between his views and one of the archetypes of Vos’ Matrix. His views on technological sustainability fall beneath the thin version of the archetype “role of technology” whilst his beliefs in regard to ecological sustainability fall beneath the thick…show more content…
He says that we cannot sustain unrestrained development; essentially, we cannot live limitless lives without dealing with the negative ramifications of doing so. Additionally, we are alerted of the fact that Orr is skeptical of the use of unrestrained development [and use] of technology. This leads me to believe that Orr is, personally, a proponent of the “thin” version in regard to the role of technology, according to Vos’s sustainability matrix. This archetype proposes cautious optimism in regard to the role of growth in a society. That being said, Orr also suggests alternate views in his essay, reporting that, “Arguments for technological sustainability rest heavily on beliefs that humans [as economic maximizers] are incapable of the discipline implied by limits.” He refers to advocates of technological stability who relate humans and human behavior to the model of the “economic man”. The Economic Man Model regards humans as unbeknownst to all limits - including those of sufficiency, sanitation, and appropriateness (Orr 25). These humans are not necessarily concerned with the ecological ramifications unless it is in their their best interest. In contradiction to what seem to be his own views, this view of technological sustainability he presents falls beneath the umbrella of the dominant paradigm of economic growth.

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