Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Tyoto

By Ken Conca; Geoffrey D. Dabelko et al. | Go to book overview

BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


27
The Business of Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

During the first great wave of environmental concern in the late 1960s and early 1970s, most of the problems seemed local: the products of individual pipes and smokestacks. The answers appeared to lie in regulating these pollution sources.

When the environment reemerged on the political agenda in the 1980s, the main concerns had become international: acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, and global warming. Analysts sought causes not in pipes and stacks but in the nature of human activities. One report after another concluded that much of what we do, many of our attempts to make "progress," are simply unsustainable. We cannot continue in our present methods of using energy, managing forests, farming, protecting plant and animal species, managing urban growth, and producing industrial goods. We certainly cannot continue to reproduce our species at the present rate.

Energy provides a striking example of present unsustainability. Most energy today is produced from fossil fuels: coal, oil, and gas. In the mid-1980s, the world

____________________
Excerpted from Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development and the Environment, by Stephan Schmidheiny, with the Business Council for Sustainable Development ( Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992). © 1992 MIT Press.

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