1. Contested meanings of Sustainable Dev

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The diverse and contested meanings of sustainable development

Colin Williams and Andrew C. Millington 2004

  • There is a diverse range of definitions of sustainable development: opposing, contesting and competing. 80 definitions in use.
  • Bruntland Report1987: 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need.'  --> this definition is allied to a particular world view
  • The 'environment paradox' gives us a starting point for understanding 'sustainable development.' There is a mismatch between what is demanded of the earth, and what the earth is capable of supplying. Two ways the approach this: 1) increasing supply and 2) decreasing demand.

1) Weak sustainability: human demand can stay the same, the stock needs to expand. This can be done by developing renewable resources , creating subsitutues for non-renewable resources and by searching for solutions to resource depletion and pollution.

Anthropocentric: human centred. Nature is seen as a resource to which we have the right of dominion, enabling us to pursue economic growth (a sign of progress).

- people are separate from nature
- nature is a resource to br used for the benefit of society or inividuals
- we have the right to dominate

 Genesis 1:28: Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground --> Williams and Millington argue that people are separate from nature and nature is a resource


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