The Just Sustainability Index

In order to chart the current status of the just sustainability discourse and of the JSP among national environmental and sustainability membership organizations in the United States, a selection of international organizations, and programs and projects in U.S. cities, I developed a Just Sustainability Index (JSI) as a hybrid of discourse analysis, content/ relational analysis, and interpretive analysis. The JSI uses the categories listed in Table 1. Using organizational websites and the search terms 'equity,' 'justice,' and 'sustainability,' I looked at both organizational mission statements and prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. [...] In addition, to fully ensure that no organization was potentially excluded, sentiments such as 'the fundamental right of all people to have a voice in decisions,' 'disproportionate environmental burdens,' and mention of 'environment' instead of 'sustainability' (only if associated with 'justice' or 'just') were counted as having fulfilled the search terms. [...]

table 1 The Just Sustainability Index

No mention of equity or justice in core mission statement or in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material.

No mention of equity or justice in core mission statement. Limited mention (once or twice) in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material.

Equity and justice mentioned, bur focused on intergenerational equity in core mission statement. Limited mention (once or twice) in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material.

Core mission statement relates intra- and intergenerational equity and justice and/or justice and equity occur in same sentence in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material.

The JSI comes with some caveats and limitations. If I only looked at organizations' statement of their mission, I could be accused of not actually getting at behavior, merely textual representations of reality and symbolic declarations. That is why I look at both 'mission' and 'program' issues, since most organizational websites, certainly those of the organizations I dealt with, have a wealth of up-to-date programmatic information. [...] The choice of which organizations to survey, it could be argued, is somewhat arbitrary. No official list of national environmental and sustainability organizations exists. Many of the organizations that I surveyed (see Table 2) were derived from SaveOurEnvironment.org, a collaborative effort of the nation's most influential environmental advocacy organizations including all the Big Ten groups. From these groups, a 'snowball' technique was applied in order to find more organizations. Three conclusions can be drawn from the results of my survey. First, among the thirty national environmental and sustainability membership organizations selected in my survey, more than 30 percent had a JSI of 0. This means that in such organizations there is no mention of equity or justice in their core mission statement or in prominent contemporary m <H

table 2 Just Sustainability Indices for National Environmental/ Sustainability Organizations Requiring Membership

Organizations1

Just Sustainability Index

American Rivers o

American Solar Energy Society o

Center for Health, Environment and Justice 3

Center for a New American Dream 3

Defenders of Wildlife o

Earth Island Institute 2

Earthjustice 2

Environmental Defense 3

Environmental Law Institute 1

Friends of the Earth 2

Greenpeace 1

Izaak Walton League 1

League of Conservation Voters o

National Audubon Society o

National Environmental Trust o

National Parks Conservation Association 1

National Wildlife Federation o

Natural Resources Defense Council 2

Nature Conservancy o

North American Association for Environmental Education 2

Ocean Conservancy o

Physicians for Social Responsibility/EnviroHealth Action 1

Redefining Progress 3

Resources for the Future o

Sierra Club 2

State PIRGs o

Union of Concerned Scientists o

Wilderness Society 1

Wildlife Society 1

WWF 1

Note: 1. All websites for organizations were initially assessed on March 20, 2004. Coding was done at a later date

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Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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