A Common Future or Towards a Future Commons: Globalization and Sustainable Development since UNCED

In International Review for Environmental Strategies (IRES) Volume 3 Number 1(Summer 2002)
Peer-reviewed Article

As the World Summit on Sustainable Development approaches, it is timely to assess our actions on behalf of a more ecologically viable world and the barriers that remain to our realization of this goal. Globalization and sustainable development have emerged as key discourses to evaluate our social and environmental prospects. On the critical issue of limiting trade and economic growth, we find that globalization and sustainable development are not the polar opposites they are frequently depicted to be. Rather, both discourses share a common emphasis on development and efficiency as tools of sustainability. The convergence of the two discourses has placed both in opposition to the arguments of ecological justice. In the evaluation of our performance since UNCED, a pressing task is to bring the insights of ecological justice to bear on efforts to address our interrelated environmental and social conflicts.


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John Byrne
Leigh Glover