Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions by Michael Redclift

By Michael Redclift

Argues that environmental difficulties must be checked out the world over, when it comes to the worldwide economic climate, and that the degradation of our surroundings isn't natural', yet an ancient procedure that is intrinsically associated and formed by means of monetary and political structures.

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Extra resources for Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions

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Clearly advocating sustainable development or ecodevelopment in principle does not commit governments or international organizations to its achievement in practice. ‘Ecodevelopment’ is also the term given to the planning concept originally advocated by UNEP. It was defined as ‘Development at regional and local levels…consistent with the potentials of the area involved, with attention given to the adequate and rational use of the natural resources, and to applications of technological styles’… (UNEP 1975).

Under the low-input farming systems that dominate most areas of Africa there is little likelihood that sustainable development can be achieved within the present context. Almost half the total land area of Africa cannot support even its 1975 population with low inputs. The critical areas include much of North Africa, almost the whole of the Sahel, the most densely populated parts of East Africa, and a dry zone stretching across southern Africa. By the year 2000 no less than 30 of the 51 countries in Africa will be unable SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE CONCEPT 31 to feed their populations with low inputs.

This leads to the question of underdevelopment. As Ojeda and Sanchez (1985, 36) have put it: private capitalist accumulation, within the ambit of the international division of labour and the growing specialisation that this implies, makes the consideration of what is a natural resource depend upon the manner in which each society is inserted within the world market… Capitalist development transforms nature and the environment within a logic which needs to be understood in global terms, as both Lenin ECONOMIC MODELS AND ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES 47 (1972) and Luxemburg (1951) argued, and which has characteristics today which it did not possess 50 or 100 years ago.

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