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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

This presentation was delivered by Jim McGovern as one of the keynote addresses at the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Energy & Environmental Protection, at Dublin City University, on Friday 14th August, 2009. The audio tracks were recorded subsequently and total about 43 minutes, whereas the actual presentation lasted about 35 minutes. The reference for the corresponding conference paper is: McGovern, Jim, ‘The very basics of sustainability—an alternative viewpoint’, in Environmental Protection Beyond 2020: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Energy & Environmental Protection - Part 1, Ed. Abdul GhaniOlabi, SumsunNaherand MarialuisaAcquaviva, 2009, Dublin, Ireland, 12–15 August, pp. 218–223.


This presentation sets out the very basics of ‘sustainability’, although a definition of sustainability is not attempted. Some of the very basics are the context in which the Earth and humankind exist in space and time, the Earth’s climate, the Earth’s population and humankind’s options and choices. The author advocates keeping an open mind on all available options, including the use of oil, gas, coal, tar sands, carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power etc., as well as the technologies that are more widely considered ‘green’. The author also argues that, in addressing the challenges that humankind faces, globally concerted effort is required.