Green Development : Environment and Sustainability in a Developing World book cover
4th Edition

Green Development
Environment and Sustainability in a Developing World

ISBN 9780415820721
Published December 20, 2019 by Routledge
428 Pages 82 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The concept of sustainability lies at the core of the challenge of environment and development, and the way governments, business and environmental groups respond to it. Green Development provides a clear and coherent analysis of sustainable development in both theory and practice.

Green Development explores the origins and evolution of mainstream thinking about sustainable development and offers a critique of the ideas behind them. It draws a link between theory and practice by discussing the nature of the environmental degradation and the impacts of development. It argues that, ultimately, ‘green’ development has to be about political economy, about the distribution of power, and not about environmental quality. Its focus is strongly on the developing world.

The fourth edition retains the broad structure of previous editions, but has been updated to reflect advances in ideas and changes in international policy. Greater attention has been given to the political ecology of development, market-based and neoliberal environmentalism, and degrowth. This fully revised edition discusses:

  • the origins of thinking about sustainability and sustainable development, and its evolution to the present day;
  • the ideas that dominate mainstream sustainable development (including natural capital, the green economy, market environmentalism and ecological modernisation);
  • critiques of mainstream ideas and of neoliberal framings of sustainability, and alternative ideas about sustainability that challenge ‘business as usual’ thinking, such as arguments about limits to growth and calls for degrowth;
  • the dilemmas of sustainability in the context of forests, desertification, food and farming, biodiversity conservation and dam construction;
  • the challenge of policy choices about sustainability, particularly between reformist and radical responses to the contemporary global dilemmas.

Green Development offers clear insights into the challenges of environmental sustainability, and social and economic development. It is unique in offering a synthesis of theoretical ideas on sustainability and in its coverage of the extensive literature on environment and development around the world. The book has proved its value to generations of students as an authoritative, thought-provoking and readable guide to the field of sustainable development.

Table of Contents

1. The dilemma of sustainability

1.1 Are we all environmentalists now?

1.2 Nature in the Anthropocene

1.3 The idea of development

1.4 Sustainable Development as Babelfish

1.5 What is ‘green’ development?

1.6 Outline of the book

2. The roots of sustainable development

2.1 Environmentalism and the emergence of sustainable development

2.2 Nature as resource

2.2.1 Imperialism and Nature

2.2.2 Fields, Forests and Efficiency

2.2.3 The Wise Use of Nature

2.3 The Protection of Nature

2.3.1 Protected Areas

2.3.2 Conservation and Development

2.4 Ecology and Sustainability

2.4.1 Ecology and Resource Management

2.4.2 Ecology and Colonial Resources

2.4.3 Ecology and Development Planning

2.4.4 The ecological impacts of development

2.5 A Global Environment

2.5.1 Environmentalism’s Challenge

2.5.2 Spaceships and Limits

2.5.3 Global science and sustainable development

2.6 Making Sustainable Development

3. Mainstream sustainable development

3.1 Beyond environmentalism: the Stockholm Conference

3.2 Environment and human needs: The Brundtland Commission

3.3. Environment and Development: Rio 1992

3.4 Forests and Biodiversity

3.5 Climate Change

3.5.1 The IPCC and climate change

3.5.2 The Framework Convention on Climate Change

3.5.3. Kyoto and Paris

3.6 Putting into sustainability

3.6.1 The legacy of Rio

3.6.2. The Millennium Development Goals

3.6.3 Rio +10

3.7 Rebooting Sustainability: Rio +20

3.8 The Sustainable Development Goals

4. Sustainability and Natural Capital

4.1 Economies of nature

4.2 Ecosystem services as natural capital

4.2.1 The idea of ecosystem services

4.4.2 Mainstreaming ecosystem services

4.2.3 Ecosystem services and poverty

4.2.4 Valuing ecosystem services

4.2.5 The awkwardness of ecosystems

4.3 Strong and weak sustainability

4.4 Calculating sustainability

4.5 Trade-offs, equity and complexity

4.6 Sustainability at the project scale

4.7 Sustainable economies?


5. Neoliberalism and the Green Economy

5.1 Neoliberalism and nature

5.1.1. Neoliberal environmentalism

5.1.2 Environmentalism and social thought

5.2 Capitalism and nature

5.3 The Green Economy

5.3.1 Sustainable development and the green economy

5.3.2 Ecological modernization

5.4 Market-based environmentalism

5.5 Markets for nature

5.5.1 Markets for ecosystem services

5.5.2 Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)

5.5.3 Markets for sustainability

6 Corporations and sustainability

6.1 Development’s risks

6.1.1 Manufactured risk

6.1.2 The politics of risk

6.1.3 Regulating hazard

6.2 Greening business

6.2.1 Environmentalism versus the corporation

6.2.2 The ‘green’ corporation

6.3 Greening consumption

6.3.1 Linking production and consumption

6.3.2 Certification schemes

6.3.3 Regulating timber

6.4 Green Mining?

7. Sustainability and Degrowth

7.1 Growth and development

7.2 Green critiques of developmentalism

7.2.1 Ecologism

7.2.2 Deep Ecology

7.2.3 Bioregionalism

7.2.4 Ecofeminism

7.3 Promethean environmentalism and its critics

7.4 Limits to Growth

7.5 Degrowth


8 The political forest

8.1 The end of the forest

8.2 Towards a political ecology

8.3 The politics of knowing

8.4 Narratives of Deforestation

8.5 The political ecology of deforestation

8.6 Forest capitalism

8.7 People and forests

8.8 Forests for carbon

8.9 Future forests


9. Desertification

9.1 Fear of deserts

9.2 Crisis in the Sahel

9.3 Drought and drylands

9.4 Desertification as policy fact

9.5 Desertification myths and policy

9.6 Dryland optimism


10 Famine, Food and Farming

10.1 The ghost of Malthus

10.2 The political ecology of famine

10.3 Crisis and Nexus

10.4 Green Revolutions and their discontents

10.5 The problem of pesticides

10.6 New revolutions

10.7 Indigenous intensification


11. The Political Ecology of Biodiversity

11.1 Conservation as politics

11.2 Conservation power

11.3 Conservation ideas

11.4 Making space for nature

11.4.1 Nature, nation and territory

11.4.2 National parks and other protected areas

11.4.3 Dream parks

11.5 Spaces of exclusion

11.5.1 Imposing wilderness

11.5.2 Conservation displacement

11.5.3 Benefits from parks

11.5.5 Parks for people

11.5.5 Conservation and indigenous people

11.6 Mainstreaming conservation

11.6.1 Conservation and development

11.6.2 Conservation and poverty

11.6.3 Integrating conservation and development

11.7 Neoliberal conservation

11.7.1 Private sector conservation

11.7.2 Biodiversity Offsetting

11.7.3 Conservation’s corporations


12. Engineering Development

12.1 The power of infrastructure

12.2 Modernity’s grip

12.3 Rebuilding the world

12.4 Dreams and schemes

12.5 Dams and resettlement

12.6 Downstream impacts

12.8 Making dams that work

12.8.1 Assessing impacts

12.8.2 The World Commission on Dams

12.8.3 After the Commission

12.9 Dams and Sustainability?

12.9.1 ‘Green’ power and the new dams rush

12.9.2 Why dams still fail

12.9.3 Turning losers into winners

12.9.4 Letting rivers be rivers

13. Green development: reformism or radicalism?

13.1 In search of sustainability

13.2 The political ecology of transition

13.3 Sustainability from below

13.4 Resistance for sustainability

13.5 Social movements and transition

13.6 Green development: reformism or radicalism?

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Professor Bill Adams has worked for over forty years on the problematic interactions between nature and human society, mostly in Africa and the UK. He holds the Moran Chair of Conservation and Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded the Busk Medal by the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers in 2004. He blogs at Thinking Like a Human (