Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World

Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World

Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World

Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World

Synopsis

Newly revised and updated, this work provides a valuable analysis of the theory and practice of sustainable development and suggests that at the start of the new millennium, we should think radically about the challenge of sustainability.

Excerpt

The first edition of this book was conceived in 1984 and written in the second half of the 1980s. In retrospect, the question of environment and development at that time was still a backwater, navigable reasonably simply in a single volume. Since then it has become a turbulent intellectual and popular torrent. Massive changes have taken place in the ways in which those active in development view the environment, and the ways in which environmentalists understand development. Academic writing in the field of environment and development has flowered and seeded wildly. Internationally, the political road-show of the Rio Conference transformed the terms within which debates about environment and development were held, and gave them hugely inflated profiles. There has been an astonishing growth in apparently 'green' ideas and statements of intent from development agencies, up to and including the World Bank, and governments. In the early 1990s, what had been a minority concern about the course and costs of 'development' suddenly became conventional wisdom. Environmentalist radicalism became mainstream environmental planning. Environmentalists came in from the cold to talk at boardroom tables; indeed, the environment became a significant growth industry in itself, a vital part of the corporate portfolio of the eager executive in rapidly globalising companies.

For an author, this explosion of activity is in a sense a delight - but it has to be admitted that it also presents problems. When Green Development was conceived, the debates it explored were not only marginal to development planning, but marginal academically. A decade on, at the start of a new century, nothing could be more different. In the 1980s it became accepted by those working in development that the environment was important: remarkably, in the 1990s, it became fashionable among social scientists as a whole, the centre of a vibrant debate and the fertile sparring ground of new talent and ideas.

Academics are as susceptible to the allure of a bull market as any other group of entrepreneurs, and government policy concern has fed rapidly through into funding opportunities and in turn into theoretical development. Environmental economics, ecological economics, political ecology, ecofeminism and deep ecology have all developed extensive, demanding and exciting literatures, and debates about the social construction of nature have extended the once

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