Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination
GEOREF RECORD

Beyond sustainability; a restorative approach for the mineral industry

Gregory R. Wessel
Beyond sustainability; a restorative approach for the mineral industry (in Geoscience for the public good and global development; toward a sustainable future, Gregory R. Wessel (editor) and Jeffrey K. Greenberg (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2016) 520: 45-55

Abstract

The concept of sustainability has been redefined over the past two decades, with growing realization that simply avoiding most impacts to human and environmental resources is not enough to counter the long-term losses created by current and past economic activities. The production of mineral resources and fossil fuels would seem to be activities that cannot, by definition, be sustainable, but extractive industries provide necessary contributions to society. By holding extractive industries to higher standards than we do today, they can become part of a globally sustainable approach that will benefit society far beyond the sites of resource extraction. Truly sustainable living in the future can only be accomplished if the current effect of our presence is restorative (net positive impact) rather than just impact-neutral. One way for the mineral industry to participate is for companies to accumulate a capital fund (by saving a portion of the annual depletion) that is used to mitigate damage and restore habitat to a greater extent than would be required to mitigate impacts from current activities alone. This form of sustainability thus becomes restorative. Restorative sustainability requires that all current impacts be evaluated using full-cost accounting. Global impacts cannot be ignored, and the values of priceless things must be honored by preventing their destruction. With respect to social resources, all stakeholders must have a say, and full disclosure is required. Active acceptance by society over multiple generations is important, and costs incurred to ensure true sustainability must be accepted as a cost of doing business.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 520
Title: Beyond sustainability; a restorative approach for the mineral industry
Title: Geoscience for the public good and global development; toward a sustainable future
Author(s): Wessel, Gregory R.
Author(s): Wessel, Gregory R.editor
Author(s): Greenberg, Jeffrey K.editor
Affiliation: Geology in the Public Interest, Vashon, WA, United States
Affiliation: Geology in the Public Interest, Vashon, WA, United States
Pages: 45-55
Published: 2016
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 41
Accession Number: 2016-090198
Categories: Economic geology, general, depositsEnvironmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201644
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal