among technologies. I limit my comments here to technological change, not to the need for a concomitant fundamental change in human values and our stance toward nature and the environment.
In the past several decades, societal concerns about environmental protection have led to the creation and implementation of environmental policies, largely in the form of end-of-pipe, technical regulations designed to limit waste flows into the environment. The cost of implementation, and of large penalties imposed on firms that used inappropriate disposal practices in the past, has led to technical innovations and practices that are more effective, but not in any systematic, sustainable way. Relatively systematic, holistic frameworks for analysis and choice, such as product life cycle analysis, are finding their way into practical applications, but as research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates, quite slowly and with uncertain results (Sullivan, 1992). Other authors in this volume address a new, broader idea called industrial ecology or industrial metabolism, which includes such concepts as dematerialization, design for environment, clean technology, environmentally clean or environmentally conscious manufacturing, and life cycle analysis. All have a technological context; the need is to develop a framework that will lead to sustainable choices of technology, regardless of what it is called.
Today all such concepts are embryonic. For the sake of simplicity, I will use the term industrial ecology. It is not yet clear what we mean by industrial ecology or the related concepts, nor how we can apply them to the design and implementation of sustainable development. One view expressed by several authors is that of a largely analytic framework that serves mostly to identify and enumerate the myriad flows of materials and technological artifacts within a web of producers and consumers (Ayres, 1989; Frosch and Gallopoulos, 1989). This aspect of industrial ecology has been called industrial metabolism (Ayres, 1989), but is only one possible way of thinking about this new framework. The idea of an industrial ecology can be expanded to include the institutions that are involved in the technological evolution. If the framework does not incorporate such an institutional aspect, it is not likely to be useful in serving as a practical guide toward sustainable development. Analysis is a necessary part of the overall calculus but not a sufficient framework to guide real decisions and implementation. Elements bearing on economic, legal, political, managerial, and other social processes must also be included. Allenby (1992) refers to this as a metasystem (see Figure 1; see also Tibbs, 1992.)
Other authors in this volume expand the context for developing an industrial ecology framework. The key points include the following:
The problems appear at several scales that are often coupled: global warming, ozone depletion, urban-smog/lead poisoning, and indoor air pollution.
Potential solutions appear at different scales and are often closely coupled: