Conclusions: the way ahead?
|• Resolving conflicts by negotiation|
|• Criteria for sustainability|
The way ahead for any attempt to attain sustainability must involve action at all levels, locally and globally: ‘thinking globally and acting locally’. Drawing on the model of interests introduced at the start of the book, this chapter uses some of the material from the case studies and examples in the rest of the book in order to assess some of the opportunities that exist for negotiating trade-offs between conflicting human interest and local and global concerns. If sustainability is to be achieved this sort of negotiation process seems vital, the final issue being whether human beings are actually capable of negotiating ways to solve the environmental problems which they have created. If not, the future could be bleak.
Negotiating the future
It is not the aim of this book to provide a blueprint for what specifically should or could be done to try to solve the environmental problems that face the world. Various specific technological options have been reviewed and it may be felt that some might add up to a viable sustainable energy package. However, the main point to emerge is that there is a need to choose among them and to negotiate exactly how they are to be used, as part of a wider process of moving towards a sustainable future. With this process of negotiation in mind, some of the general themes and issues from earlier chapters can be usefully brought together so as to indicate some possible starting-points and possible ways in which conflicts of interest might be overcome.