By: Thien Nguyen

In the first chapter of Pragmatic Sustainability, Paul Thompson describes the dual principles for pragmatic conceptualization of sustainability, which are “functional integrity” and “resource sufficiency”, in the following sense:

Resource sufficiency, first, they measure the rate at which a given production or consumption practice consumes resources. Second, they estimate the stock or store of resources available (p. 5). Functional integrity, a practice that creates a threat to the system’s capacity for reproducing itself over time is said to be unsustainable. (p. 5) Functional Integrity, in my understanding, describes the virtues or principles that can be applicable to the conceptualization of sustainability.

In other words, functional integrity integrates the philosophical approach to morals and ethics. What the author meant about functional integrity is any system of behavior and actions that would both compromise the characteristics of sustainability and contradict the system from within.

Resource sufficiency, similar to Thompson’s description, highlights the empirical effects that the humans leave changes for the future generation such as geological, climate, and resources. Resource sufficiency and functional integrity apply to practical and value based considerations because the duality exist as fundamental and systematic guideline without contradicting its sub systems such as cultural, political, and ethical. The two principles serve as the input while the systems add up under its guidelines.

Non-substantive sustainability serves part of the functionality of sustainability as a movement due to the majority’s understanding, in a superficial way, of sustainability. Some might say this is a contradiction but Thompson concludes it as a paradox and the forever twiddle with the deeper meaning of sustainability.

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By: Edward Wilkinson

Functional integrity is the capability for something to rejuvenate itself over time. While resource sufficiency includes equilibrium in the intensities of creation and depletion of a resource or chemical, such as carbon dioxide, over a given amount of time. Non-substantive sustainability can come across as vague, as he entails what sustainability means on a bigger scale, with its main objective to drive social sustainability agendas to a wider audience.

I agree with Thompson's take on non-substantive sustainability, as without it sustainability won’t reach a wider audience. However I did find that Thompson's research was excessive and explained in great detail, almost making it complicated. His philosophy of decisions made now will create how our future is later clearly the main thing that sticks out to me as I prescribe to this theory. We have seen in the past where humans have excessively over used certain natural resources that have ended in them becoming obsolete. In order for us to be truly sustainable we must be able to use resources in moderation in order to preserve and continue to use them.

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By: Samvel Simonyan

While reading this I was caught off guard by how Thompson defined the terms “functional integrity” and “resource sufficiency.” He describes these terms by saying “we can answer in terms of resource sufficiency be measuring the rate at which murder consumes human lives, and the number of victims available.” I believe that resource sufficiency means that there are a lot of resources to do anything that we want. Since there is murder happening to humans, there are a high number of victims available to do it. Then he goes on saying “We can answer in terms of functional integrity by determining whether murder threatens the human population’s ability to reproduce itself.” By this he means that is the integrity of an object of living creature in jeopardy or can it still function even with its habitat being destroyed. I think what “non-substantive sustainability” means is that people talking about sustainability and yet they don’t know what it means because there are many versions and ideas about sustainability. It’s a very broad term to go up to someone and start talking about sustainability. Just like we did the exercise in the statistics class. Sustainability can be energy, technology, education, economy, ecology, etc.

Sustainability is something that needs to be done and not just theorized. Action is needed in order for something to happen and for it to move forward. I also do agree that the past is needs to be considered because people back then didn’t have cars and engines to move from place to place. Look at the Egyptians and how they built the pyramids without any machinery. In order for the planet to become sustainability or come close to being it, we need to take a step back and look at the world again.

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By: Armig Boghigian

Thompson believes resource sufficiency is to maintain sustainability when there is a decline of resources. He claims it is utilitarian in nature. He believes that there is a need in policies since their implementation can take account of local circumstances. The policies can be contextualized and adapted with appropriate monitoring and evaluation.

I agree with him, in terms of "non-substantive sustainability." He states that there is no way to understand sustainability without getting our hands a little dirty. He believes we won't know anything about it unless we implement it into our daily lives. Political and organizational causes that have been labeled "sustainable" are seen as a non-substantive cause to the author. The word alone does not signify a change, it does not signify right or wrong. There should be something about the word that brings a positive meaning to society. Assumption should not be an issue when it comes to sustainability. Yet, I believe it is a step and it is worth the chance. All these labels are intended to promote social action and so, I believe labeling an issue may cause awareness, though it does not signify change.