Sustainability During the Credit Crisis

With a sudden rash of failures and dirt-cheap buyouts of investment banks and consumer lending institutions, the credit crisis is dominating the mainstream media, and rightly so. Let us consider for a moment, the effect it might have on sustainability.

The old stereotype is that environmentalism is a luxury good, and that if people get poorer in real terms, they will have to sacrifice it. Of course, this simply is not true. Environmental responsibility can save money, in the form of lower energy bills, lower water bills, or offsetting material costs through recycling, to name a few. So one might expect even more sustainable behavior in order to cut costs. Unfortunately, this is probably not true either.

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The National Review Does It Again

You may remember our coverage of the National Review’s stunning claim that there is an infinite supply of oil available for drilling. Now, they have outshined themselves in their coverage of the WaMu bank failure. From Mark Krikorian:
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University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh becomes first “Fair Trade University”

The news from Chancellor Richard H. Wells that UWO would become the nation’s first fair trade university was the only announcement met with applause during Tuesday’s opening day ceremonies, Wells said.

Fair trade certified products – which are produced under sustainable, decent and fair labor conditions – will now be available at university dining establishments, catered functions and in department offices when possible.

Colleges and universities selling fair trade products is nothing new, but the difference in this case appears to be the source of the proclamation and the scale. The magnitude of this announcement cannot be ignored as the Chancellor of a large public university is declaring the campus-wide use of fair trade products. Nevertheless, there are several concerns with the “Fair trade University” label. One could easily view this as another example of an attempt to address an issue solely through consumption.

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