Global Sustainability

The Alliance for Global Sustainability is a partnership of four scientific and technological universities:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Tokyo, Chalmers University of Technology, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and their associated partners. It was formed in 1997 in the conviction that closer collaboration amongst some of the world's leading research institutions would lead to faster progress towards sustainability. Students can get an online university degree from an accredited college or university, and apply for graduate jobs later.

Read more about:

Actions to take to support global sustainability
Example case 1: Evolution of the Piano Industry & Effects on the Environment
Example case 2: Impact on the Environment - RC Model Industry

Global Sustainability - A Breif Background

Technology has been a part of human history since mankind started developing tools and weapons directly from what their environment provided. Humankind has come a long way from bones, antlers, and rocks to factories, automobiles, and rocket ships. Each step technology took forward has diminished the natural environment and led to the deterioration of natural ecosystems.

Technology ultimately led us to find sources of energy that have vastly improved the quality of life for people. But it has come at a steep cost to the environment. The reliance major countries have on energy sources such as oil and coal have led to numerous negative consequences. The most obvious environmental impacts include the emissions and pollutants being dispersed into the atmosphere resulting in the greenhouse effect.

Technology is a tool developed by people and controlled by people. It can also be used to help reverse the negative impact it created. Environmentally sustainable systems can be designed and developed through new technologies.

The issue of bringing technology to the forefront of sustainability is complex and relies on the cooperation of the global culture. It must include the cooperation of numerous social factors such as academia, industry, politics, and civil society. It must also be incorporated on a global scale to include each and every country.

The United States and China need to lead the way in a collaborative effort to develop and integrate sustainable systems for energy, water, and transportation. These two countries are responsible for over 30 percent of the carbon and sulfur emission in the world. The use of fossil fuel and coal not only lead to air pollution they are both limited finite resources that will one day be completely depleted.

New technology for making use of sustainable energy will ultimately need to be developed in order to replace the use of limited resources. The issue is only now being addressed as a major concern on a global scale.

The process of researching, developing, and implementing new technologies and design have long way to go. It will need the cooperation of various countries who must also meet the immediate needs of their populations. This is especially true for their urban centers where the reliance on energy, water, and transportation is critical. Further cooperation will need to come from all sectors of society. Industries may need to retool in order to incorporate sustainable ways for product development. The last hundred years much of the production has changed from the making of long lasting products to quickly consumable products. Compare for example the industries of furniture or piano manufacturing hundred years ago, products which are still being used a century later. How many of today's products are built in such a way? Most mobile phones, TV:s, computers are built to last a few years and then to be thrown away. But there are exceptions, for example the development of LED lights which is a fast growing industry. Ultimately there will need to be a global consensus on how to balance energy needs, implement new technologies, and streamline the transition from finite resources to sustainable resources.