"For Mexican campesinos, the problem is not sustainability but survival."
—Statement by Mexico City gathering of
the Interamerican Network of Agriculture and Democracy, July 1993.
Finding the right path to sustainable development is the main challenge of this and coming generations both in Mexico and around the world. There is widespread agreement that the deterioration of nature is limiting the development of human economy and society. Better ways need to be found for people to live and work in concert with global ecology. 1
There is a consensus that cuts across class divisions and international borders that the relationship of society, economy, and environment needs to be sustainable. There is bitter disagreement, however, over just what that means and how to achieve it. Not just a question of semantics, this struggle to define sustainable development is an intensifying battle in which different social sectors seek to defend their own interests. It is a debate that reaches far beyond environmental conservation to affect the shape of international trade, the direction of national economic policies, and the fate of the peasantry and other subordinated social sectors. 2
Although the term, sustainable development, has been circulating within environmental circles and UN conferences since the early 1970s,