In addition, Dr. Brinkmann is a professor in Hofstra University's Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability. He chairs the Board of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. His new book, Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy, will be published this year and is available from the University of Press of Florida here. Born in 1961, Dr. Brinkmann is a native of Wisconsin.
Dr. Robert Brinkmann
Dr. Brinkmann: Absolutely. There are a few nations of the world that are not fully engaged with the modern sustainability movement because they see it as a new form of capitalist oppression. However, by far, most nations are involved with sustainability in some way and many have developed their own unique approaches. There are two great examples. Bhutan, for instance, has developed a sustainability index called the Gross National Happiness Index. The indicators that focus more on social justice and quality of life. The Canadian approach to measuring sustainability includes a range of standard indicators associated with environment, equity, and environmental protection. But it also includes things like access to live entertainment and national parks as well as reduction of diseases associated with the West, like diabetes. Many nations have developed individualized sustainability indicators and plans that fit their needs and that reflect their culture.
I think a better way of thinking about sustainability for those who are nervous about more government is to think about how we can change our government to do better. Do governments really need to build more roads or do we need to build more sustainable transportation options? Do we need to subsidize big agricultural companies or do we need to subsidize the small farmer? Do we need to subsidize dirty energy or subsidize green energy? It is not about building more government. Instead it is getting our governments to refocus resources on the issues that will allow us to have a more sustainable future.