Environmental Discourse and Sustainable Development: Linkages and Limitations

Ethics and the Environment 5 (1):3-21 (2000)
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Abstract

In the development field, one of the major shortcomings of mainstream development theories and models is their relative indifference toward environmental concerns. However, the worsening environmental catastrophes and the growing environmental consciousness led to the emergence of a new model of development known as "sustainable development." The proponents of sustainable development tend to explore the environmental costs of development activities, prescribe environment-friendly policies, suggest institutional and legal measures for environmental protection, and publicize the principles of sustainable through international forums and publications. Despite this recognition of environment-development relationship, the model of sustainable development suffers from certain serious shortcomings that need to be addressed. This article begins with a brief discussion on various forms of environmental challenges to development, followed by an analysis of how the model of sustainable development articulates the environment-development linkages in both practical and intellectual terms. The final section of the paper critically examines the major limitations of the model in dealing with the environmental question, and makes some suggestions in this regard

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