The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line

By Suzuki, David | Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis, Annual 2002 | Go to article overview

The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line


Suzuki, David, Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis


THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT

This year is the 40th anniversary of the publication of a book that for many people--certainly for me--was one of the most influential and important works of the 20th century. In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a book that dealt with pesticides, but could have been equally valid for virtually any modern technology. Carson pointed out that in nature, nothing exists in isolation because everything is connected to everything else. Humans invent powerful technologies and we use them for specific purposes, like DDT to kill insect pests. But because everything is interconnected, there are ramifications throughout the web of life that affect fish, birds and mammals, including human beings. Her book was a global call to action, an eloquent look at the natural world and the impacts that human beings are having on it. Her book galvanized millions of people around the world, including me, into becoming part of the modern environmental movement. Within 10 years the movement had grown to such an extent that the United Nations called the first global environmental conference on the Environment and Development in Stockholm. At Stockholm there were eminent scientists--Paul Ehrlich, Barry Commoner, Barbara Ward, Margaret Mead--who discussed many of the issues that remain familiar to us today: population growth, poverty, species extinction, and toxic pollution.

Awareness Grows

In the years that followed Stockholm we had constant reminders of the impact of humanity on the environment--names like Exxon Valdez, Bhopal and Chernobyl punctuated the steady increase in environmental awareness. And after Stockholm we learned of new phenomena that Rachel Carson and the Stockholm delegates didn't know about. We learned of the immense scale of destruction of tropical rainforests around the world, the acceleration of loss of species as a result of human activity, the overfishing of marine resources, ozone depletion when most of us didn't even know there was such a thing as the ozone layer, global warming and, more recently, the very worrying phenomenon of endocrine disruptors that leach out of plastics and affect sexual development.

Environmental concern had grown to such an extent, that by 1988 a man ran for President of the United States and said, "if you vote for me, I will be an environmental president." He was George Bush and, after being elected, he revealed how shallow promises are when made during the heat of elections. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher was filmed for television picking up litter in London and saying to the camera, "I'm a greenie too." In 1988 Brian Mulroney was re-elected for a second term and, to show his born-again environmentalism, he raised the Minister of the Environment into the inner Cabinet and appointed the biggest star of that election, Lucien Bouchard, to the Ministry of the Environment.

All of that awareness and concern peaked in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. At Rio, the largest number of heads of state in human history assembled to signal a fundamental shift: from that point on, whatever humanity did, the ecological implications would have to be considered. The rallying cry in 1992 was "sustainable development" and at the Earth Summit, Agenda 21, a massive blueprint to get us onto a sustainable path, was signed by most of the leaders at that conference. They also signed Conventions on Biodiversity and Climate that were to be formally ratified in later years.

As if to punctuate the significance of the Earth Summit in Rio, in 1992 the Canadian government finally admitted what fishermen had been warning of for years--the northern cod off Newfoundland were vanishing. This fishery had attracted Europeans for centuries; before Columbus, boats were fishing off the Grand Banks. The entire culture of the province was built on northern cod, and in 1992 the government admitted that they were commercially extinct and called a moratorium. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.